Volvo IPO will keep it ahead of the electric car race
VOLVOS SPORT subtle reminders of their Swedish heritage, from tiny blue and yellow flags adorning some models to “Thor’s hammer” headlights that illuminate all of its vehicles. In recent years, a brand that combines Scandi-cool design with concern for safety and the environment has helped Volvo to extend its footprint beyond its European heart to China and America. He hopes to continue. An initial public offering (Initial Public Offering), announced on October 4, will make it both “more Swedish and more global,” says Volvo boss Hakan Samuelsson.
On the Swedish side, registration in Stockholm will strengthen Volvo’s Nordic identity. Overall, the Initial Public Offering is a chance to leverage a more diverse investor base as it expands its global reach, while remaining small and nimble enough to navigate the rapidly evolving automotive industry. And Mr Samuelsson points out that little would change in his relationship with Geely, the Chinese company that has owned Volvo since it acquired Ford in 2010 for $ 1.8 billion. Geely intends to remain the largest shareholder and the two companies will continue to share costs and technology.
When Geely dropped a Initial Public Offering from Volvo in 2018, the apparent reason was an impending trade war between China and the West. In reality, the decision probably had more to do with whether no one else thought the company was worth $ 30 billion. This valuation now seems more reasonable. Volvo went from losses under Ford and production of 374,000 cars in the last year of US ownership to 773,000 in the 12 months leading up to June with healthy earnings. Its goal of making 1.2 million cars per year by 2025 seems achievable. It is also paving the way for its cars to be sold by subscription or directly to consumers at a fixed price, rather than through dealerships.
More importantly, Volvo is ahead of most of its competitors in satisfying the growing appetite for electric vehicles (VEs) among motorists and investors. It has pledged to go all-electric by 2030, well ahead of most of its rivals; transformed its internal combustion engine business into a stand-alone operation in order to focus on VEs; and partnered with Northvolt, a Swedish battery company, to build a gigafactory and secure supply. He also owns half Polestar, a pure-VE brand that last month announced plans to go public next year in a reverse merger with a specialist acquisition company (and hopes to get a $ 20 billion valuation). Relying on Volvo for manufacturing capability and retail and service networks puts Polestar in a better position than most of its competitors VE startups, which are missing either.
Geely will pocket a practical profit after about a decade of outright Volvo ownership. The Chinese company will retain a dominant stake, but the IPO will also allow it to focus on its reorganization from a holding company that owns various automakers into a transportation technology group that also makes the smartphones and satellites that enable the provision of transport services and ultimately autonomous vehicles. Volvo, for its part, hopes to raise nearly $ 3 billion in the Initial Public OfferingCash Mr. Samuelsson says the automaker needs it if it is to maintain its electric momentum. If so, the rivals will have to catch up even further. ■
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This article appeared in the Business section of the print edition under the headline “Electric Blue and Yellow”