Volvo Car gained in its trading debut in Stockholm after raising 20 billion kronor ($2.3bn) in an initial public offering, as investors bought into the company’s successful turnaround and promise of an electric future.
The shares gained as much as 11 per cent in Stockholm and traded at 58.18 kronor as of 9:20am., above the listing price – set at 53 kronor. The IPO valued the carmaker owned by China’s Zhejiang Geely Holding Group at 158 billion kronor, according to a statement.
The successful debut follows Volvo Cars’ move to cut the size of its offering by a fifth and price it at the bottom of an initial range after investors balked at the prospect of Geely retaining a hold on the bulk of the voting rights. The Chinese company eventually agreed to loosen its grip on the manufacturer.
Even at the reduced size, Volvo Cars’ IPO ranks among Europe’s top deals this year and is an important barometer for investors’ backing of the transition to electric vehicles. It is also Sweden’s biggest sale since telecom operator Telia went public in 2000.
Volvo Cars “took feedback from the pre-IPO process and made sure to place the deal on a level the market finds attractive”, said Leif Eriksrod, head of equities at Norwegian fund Alfred Berg Kapitalforvaltning. Still, Volvo Cars looks slightly expensive in comparison with German peers such as BMW, Daimler, and Volkswagen and with all carmakers expected to “electrify in short time” the company may not be “especially far ahead,” he said.
Volvo Cars plans to sell only fully electric vehicles by the end of this decade and build a battery plant in Europe. The company wants to use IPO proceeds to add carmaking capacity and almost double annual sales to 1.2 million vehicles by 2025.
Under Geely’s ownership, Volvo managed a successful turnaround after long languishing under the roof of Ford Motor. The company has been particularly successful with its line-up of SUVs, such as the XC90 and smaller XC60, that combine clean Nordic styling with a reputation for reliability and safety. Volvo’s rejuvenation contrasts with the decline and fall of Saab, the cult Swedish car brand that faltered under General Motors and eventually went under