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Saudi PIF in discussions to invest in Chinese EV brand

November 7, 2023 9:08 AM

According to individuals with knowledge of the situation, the sovereign wealth fund of Saudi Arabia is currently negotiating an investment of no less than $250 million in Human Horizons Group, a Chinese electric-vehicle manufacturer.

A move supporting the kingdom’s initiative to establish a local automotive sector.

The sources disclosed that the Public Investment Fund (PIF) might secure a stake in the Shanghai-based company at a valuation of $3 billion. They added that while an agreement could potentially be reached within the current year, the finalization of terms might extend the timeline.

At present, no definitive determinations have been reached.

Human Horizons, which has been actively considering various strategic avenues, is contemplating raising up to $1 billion from private investors to strengthen its expansion efforts.

Additionally, the company has reportedly been collaborating with UBS Group and Morgan Stanley to explore the possibility of an initial public offering.

The potential investment by the PIF coincides with a series of recent agreements made by the kingdom in the sector, forming a part of its broader strategy to reduce reliance on oil and diversify its economy.

Among these developments is a significant US$5.6 billion deal with Human Horizons. Notably, the top-tier models of the HiPhi sport utility vehicles from Human Horizons can command prices as high as 800,000 yuan (approximately $148,877).

So far this year, Saudi Arabia has granted approval for the establishment of a manufacturing facility for its domestic EV brand, Ceer. Additionally, it has inaugurated another facility in collaboration with California-based Lucid Group (NASDAQ: LCID).

In a recent development, Hyundai Motor Co. has agreed to establish a car assembly plant near Jeddah, partnering with the PIF.

An agreement with Human Horizons would further solidify Saudi Arabia's relationship with China. Since President Xi Jinping's visit to the kingdom in December, Chinese business leaders have been increasingly motivated to pursue investment opportunities within the Gulf region and potentially participate in Vision 2030, the Saudi government's comprehensive economic transformation plan.

By Michael Elkins | [email protected]

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