(March 23): Renault SA is inviting investment banks to pitch for a role in the planned initial public offering (IPO) of its Ampere electric-vehicle (EV) business, according to people familiar with the matter.
The French carmaker has been sending out requests for proposals to potential IPO underwriters in recent days, the people said, asking not to be identified because the information is private. It’s considering listing Ampere on the Euronext Paris bourse as soon as the fourth quarter, the people said.
Renault, which makes Megane E-Tech hatchbacks and Alpine sports cars, has been aiming for a valuation of roughly €10 billion (US$10.8 billion or RM48.05 billion) for Ampere, Bloomberg News reported in November. Deliberations are ongoing, and details of the potential offering could change due to market conditions, the people said.
A spokesman for Renault declined to comment.
The company, which has been carving out its EV assets, this month announced internally around 15 in-house managers will be tasked with moving the Ampere project forward under the leadership of chief executive officer Luca de Meo.
Renault is moving ahead with a sweeping overhaul to raise funds for EV development and narrow the gap with bigger rivals such as Stellantis NV. Japanese partner Nissan Motor Co has pledged to buy as much as 15% of Ampere and Mitsubishi Motors Corp is considering an investment. Qualcomm Inc, the largest maker of smartphone processors, will also back the business.
Europe has been facing a drought of major IPOs amid volatile stocks and a bleak economic outlook. The sudden meltdown of Credit Suisse Group AG, which ignited a global market rout, has been adding to investor jitters this month. Just about US$2 billion has been raised via new listings on European exchanges so far this year, a near 50% drop from the same period last year, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.
“Investor appetite for pure-play EV stories has come down in recent months putting some pressure on management to explain how the Ampere investment case differs,” Jefferies International Ltd analyst Philippe Houchois wrote in a March 20 note. “Deeper cooperation with Qualcomm and Google should help Renault catch-up or leapfrog some larger competitors with lower execution risk and intuitive software solutions.”
The carmaker’s approach is “unique so far in ring-fencing future battery-EV product development and manufacturing capabilities”, Houchois also wrote.
Even though companies are having difficulty picking the right time to list, the pipeline for IPOs remains strong, stock exchange operator Euronext NV said last month.
The stock was trading 0.6% lower as of 9.32am in Paris on Thursday (March 23). Renault shares are up 60% in the past year, giving the company a market value of €10.9 billion.