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UK sportscar maker Lotus mulls IPO to drive global expansion

·Finance Reporter, Yahoo Finance UK
·2-min read
UK sportscar maker Lotus mulls IPO to drive global expansion
Lotus aims to float in the next 12-24 months. Photo: Getty

Carmaker Lotus is exploring options to drive international growth and has started an international roadshow for investors which could lead to a multibillion-pound flotation as early as next year.

Both The Times and the Financial Times reported that Lotus is moving to open a production plant in China and is targeting annual sales of 100,000 by the end of the decade.

The Lotus Group, which is majority owned by China’s Geely (GELYF), said of that 100,000 sales a year target, 90,000 will be electric saloons and SUVs produced by Lotus Technology.

The Norfolk-based sportscar manufacturer currently produces 1,500 sportscars a year.

Specialised trade publication Autocar said the company plans to float its Lotus Technology division in a move valued between £5bn ($6.8bn) and £6bn.

Read more: UK car production drops to lowest since 1956

A spokesperson said the company favours an IPO over the SPAC (special purpose acquisition company) method of listing that was recently employed by Geely stablemate Polestar, despite the extra scrutiny involved in the more traditional route to market.

Lotus aims to float in the next 12-24 months, but the decision over whether to do so in Asia, London or New York has not yet been taken, the company said.

The sportscar maker plans to open a manufacturing plant in Wuhan next year which will begin building the first Lotus 4x4, an all-electric sports utility vehicle, followed by a zero-emission executive car. The Wuhan-built Lotus SUV will retail at about £100,000.

UK sportscar brand Lotus mulls IPO to drive global expansion
Lotus CEO Matt Windle said the brand plans to sell 100,000 vehicles worldwide by 2028. Photo: Dylan Martinez/Reuters

Although aimed at the Chinese electric car market, it will be made available to the UK and US markets.

Zhejiang Geely Holding Group acquired a controlling stake in Lotus from Malaysian conglomerate DRB-Hicom in 2017.

It promised £1.5bn to overhaul the company, turn it into an all-electric carmaker and stretch the brand into upmarket “lifestyle vehicles” that would rival BMW (BMW.DE), Mercedes-Benz (MBG.DE) and Audi.

Read more: Electric vehicles should be taxed to plug £35bn fiscal hole, say MPs

Geely’s investment included a major upgrade of Lotus' factory in Hethel, Norfolk, the addition of a design centre in Coventry and a new technical hub in Frankfurt, Germany.

Lotus CEO Matt Windle described the extent of the transformation as something “never undertaken in the automotive industry before”.

Lotus has said that half of its total sales may come from China in five years.

Watch: What are SPACS?

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