Chinese car and battery maker BYD Co. is awaiting approval from China's stock regulators for a share offering on the Shenzhen Stock Exchange aimed at raising cash for a major expansion.
The China Securities Regulatory Commission is due to review the application on Monday. BYD did not give any timetable for its initial public offering in the prospectus seen Friday on the CSRC's website.
MidAmerican Energy, a subsidiary of billionaire investor Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway, has a 9.9 percent stake in BYD, which has been investing heavily in expanding its auto production capacity despite a 33 percent drop in its profit last year.
BYD has not specified the price for its planned listing of 79 million shares, or 3.4 percent of its enlarged capital, in Shenzhen, the country's smaller, second market. The company, whose shares are also listed in Hong Kong, had postponed the mainland Chinese IPO last year, awaiting a better market environment.
The company said it plans to use the proceeds for a 2.2 billion yuan ($338 million) expansion, most of which will go to an autos research, development and production base in the company's hometown of Shenzhen, which borders Hong Kong.
BYD launched China's first homegrown hybrid vehicle, the F3DM, for the retail market in late 2008.
But after years of torrid growth that made China the world's biggest market for new vehicles, auto sales have slowed. BYD reported its vehicle sales rose 10 percent last year from the year before to over 500,000 units.
But intensifying competition in BYD's core segment of inexpensive sedans coincided with the loss of key government subsidies for fuel-saving economy vehicles, and the company's profit margin was halved last year to 5 percent.
The company, which is the world's biggest battery maker, has branched into production of electric buses and energy storage systems. It says it plans to soon launch an SUV and other higher-end vehicles, expanding its lineup to include more profitable segments.
A year ago, BYD joined with Daimler AG to form a 50-50, 600 million yuan ($88 million) electric car joint venture that will combine the German automaker's know-how with BYD's experience in battery technology.
BYD's shares fell 0.6 percent Friday in Hong Kong to 26.80 Hong Kong dollars ($3.44). They have fallen 60.6 percent in the past 12 months and 4.6 percent this year.
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