Lotus Cars Finishes Funding Round at $2 Billion Valuation

(Bloomberg) — Lotus Cars, the iconic British sports and racing carmaker being transformed into an electric-led brand by its Chinese owners, has completed a financing round, according to people familiar with the matter.

The company was valued at 15 billion yuan ($2.3 billion) in the pre-Series A funding round, one of the people said, asking to not to be identified because the matter is private. Nio Capital, the investment arm of Chinese, U.S.-listed electric-car startup Nio Inc., is part of the investor lineup, the person said.

Controlled by China’s Zhejiang Geely Holding Group Co., Lotus plans to announce the new investors as soon as Tuesday, at a ground-breaking ceremony for the global headquarters of Wuhan Lotus Technology, which develops electric cars for the brand in Wuhan, central China, the people said.

Representatives for both Geely and Nio Capital declined to comment.

Chinese billionaire Li Shufu’s Geely, which also controls Sweden’s Volvo Cars, has made a number of strategic moves to add momentum to his carmaking empire as the global auto industry transitions toward electrification and other alternative energies. The Hangzhou-based carmaker has forged tie-ups with companies including Daimler AG and Renault SA.

Geely purchased a stake in Group Lotus in 2017. It owns 51% of the company, including Lotus Cars and consultancy Lotus Engineering, while Malaysia’s Etika Automotive Bhd. owns the rest. Under Geely, Lotus in 2019 launched its all-electric Evija hypercar, a 1,972-horsepower coupe that costs about $2 million.

Geely is weighing an initial public offering of Lotus Cars, or just its EV unit, as soon as next year, Bloomberg News reported in April. A listing could value the entire business, including its combustion-driven sports and racing cars, at more than $15 billion, people familiar with the matter said then.

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