Swedish EV unit in Evergrande in talks to sell, CEO says
STOCKHOLM, Oct. 15 (Reuters) – The Swedish electric vehicle unit of China Evergrande Group (3333.HK) is in talks with venture capital firms and US and European industrial partners to find new owners, said its supreme leader, as its Chinese parent company battles default on more than $ 300 billion in debt.
National Electric Vehicle Sweden AB (NEVS), owned by cash-strapped Chinese real estate developer, has funds to last “quite a while,” chief executive Stefan Tilk said, adding that several investors were showing interest in the company.
He declined to comment on a possible assessment. A source familiar with the situation told Reuters that the unit could be valued at $ 1 billion.
Evergrande has already missed three rounds of interest payments on its international bonds and has made efforts to sell some of its assets to raise funds. Read more
The Chinese real estate developer has spent billions of dollars on stakes in automotive technology developers, including NEVS. It also has joint ventures with the German Hofer and the Swedish Koenigsegg.
NEVS, which was licensed to produce electric vehicles in China four years ago, is the Swedish branch of Evergrande’s EV Evergrande New Energy Vehicle Group (0708.HK) unit of Evergrande.
Tilk said NEVS was discussing a potential sale or other financing primarily with European and American companies, but declined to name them.
“We are in dialogue both with companies and companies which have the same idea and the same direction as us and which want to enter it with all our competence,” he told Reuters. “They are therefore both industrial partners and venture capital investors.”
Evergrande NEV warned in stock exchange documents last month that he is still looking for new investors and selling assets, and without either one he might struggle to pay employee salaries. and to cover other expenses.
Tilk added that NEVS, which gave notice of layoff to nearly half of its roughly 650 employees in August, could hire staff again to get the skills Evergrande wants in Europe if it survives the crisis.
“If Evergrande can continue operations, which they hope to do, they will be interested in having a footprint in Europe, with infrastructure like a factory, tests, a laboratory. And we have it,” he said. declared.
In the meantime, NEVS, which bought the assets of automaker Saab in 2012, is focused on building its PONS mobility ecosystem, a self-driving carpooling network for smart cities and college campuses.
Reporting by Helena Soderpalm in Stockholm and Krystal Hu in New York; Editing by Sumeet Chatterjee and Jan Harvey
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