NIO Inc. shares
began trading in a secondary listing on the Hong Kong exchange Thursday, becoming the latest U.S.-listed Chinese electric-vehicle maker to offer shares closer to home amid rising geopolitical uncertainty.
The Shanghai-based company’s shares were at HK$161.80 at mid-day, equivalent to about US$20.69. The move reflected positive investor sentiment a day after NIO’s American depository shares rose 12% to $20.17 amid a broad rally for tech stocks.
NIO, which listed on the New York Stock Exchange in 2018, debuted shares in Hong Kong by way of introduction, meaning it didn’t issue new shares or raise new funds in the offering.
That decision likely was due to less-than-ideal market conditions, with NIO waiting for a better time to raise money via an issuance of new shares, said Bo Pei, a research analyst at US Tiger Securities. He noted that U.S.-listed peers Li Auto Inc. and Xpeng Inc. completed secondary listings in Hong Kong last summer, when better market conditions allowed them to take advantage of higher valuations to raise funds.
NIO shares found favor with investors earlier in the pandemic but have come under pressure as Beijing and Washington stepped up scrutiny of U.S.-listed Chinese companies, with EV and other growth stocks pulling back at a time of lower risk appetite as well as concerns about rising inflation.
NIO’s U.S.-listed depositary receipts are 51% lower over the past 12 months, including a 36% fall so far in 2022.
HSBC has a buy rating and target price of $23.96 on NIO’s U.S. shares. It said in report last month that NIO is likely to expand its market share on the back of three new premium EV models it will roll out this year and improving autonomous driving capacities.