Kwang Yang Motor Co (光陽工業), which sells gas-powered scooters under the brand KYMCO, yesterday said it is “seriously” studying the feasibility of spinning off its electric scooter unit as a prelude to an initial public offering (IPO), likely overseas, to raise its brand equity worldwide and facilitate its recruitment of top talent.
“Kwang Yang has no plan to go public, but the company is likely to spin off its electric scooter division for an IPO,” Kwang Yang chairman Allen Ko (柯勝峰) said during an interview with a small group of reporters in Taipei.
“We might follow the model of Harley-Davidson Inc, which is to spin off its electric-motorcycle unit, LiveWire, to list the entity publicly,” Ko said.
Photo courtesy of Kwang Yang Motor
Founded in 1963, the company has a long history in making gas-fueled scooters.
Kwang Yang has built a strong presence in the nation’s scooter market, holding on to the No. 1 spot for about two decades, with a market share of more than 30 percent.
Kwang Yang’s new electric scooter business, sold under the brand name Ionex, would have greater flexibility and agility in crafting its expansion plans, Ko said.
If the unit is separated from Kwang Yang and is publicly listed, it would find it easier to attract top talent and raise its brand awareness worldwide, he said.
As the company aims to transform itself into the world’s top electric two-wheeler supplier, an overseas listing could be an option, as foreign investors are more willing to assign attractive valuations to start-ups, he said.
It would not happen overnight as it usually takes several years to plan for an IPO, he added.
At the moment, Kwang Yang’s priority is to expand its global footprint, mainly in China, India and Southeast Asia, which are the world’s top three scooter markets, he said
“It is crucial to build a foothold while the electric scooter market is still in its infancy, if we want to be an industry leader,” Ko said.
Harley-Davidson plans to list its LiveWire division publicly through a merger with AEA-Bridges Impact Corp. Kwang Yang and KYMCO Capital (金庫資本) are to make a combined US$100 million investment in LiveWire.
Kwang Yang expects its partnership with Harley-Davidson to bear fruit in the next two to three years, Ko said.
That meant new electric two-wheelers made via a jointly developed platform would be available in the next few years, he said.
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