Chinese electric-vehicle maker NIO (NYSE:NIO) announced Thursday afternoon that it will raise at least $2.5 billion via a new offering of stock in the U.S. following recent offerings from several key rivals.
The company plans to sell 60 million new American depositary shares next week in an offering underwritten by investment banks Morgan Stanley and China International Capital Corporation. If demand for the new shares is strong, the underwriters will have the option to purchase an additional 9 million shares within 30 days.
If all the shares are purchased at current prices, NIO will raise about $2.8 billion before fees.
NIO plans to use the proceeds for new-vehicle development, research and development of autonomous driving technologies, and to expand its sales and service network.
NIO joins a growing list of companies in the electric-vehicle space that are taking advantage of current high valuations to raise additional cash, including Tesla (NASDAQ:TSLA), which announced a $5 billion at-the-market offering earlier this week, and two of NIO's domestic rivals, Li Auto (NASDAQ:LI) and XPeng (NYSE:XPEV).
Li Auto raised about $1.3 billion in a share sale last week; its plans for the cash are similar to NIO's. XPeng's offering, announced Wednesday, is expected to raise about $2.2 billion for research and development and an expansion of its own sales and service networks, as well as "potential strategic investments."
None of these companies, including NIO, are thought to be in urgent need of additional cash. Both established and new automakers benefit from having a sizable cash reserve to demonstrate to auto investors that they can continue to fund new-product development during periods of lower sales, as in a recession.