Chinese drone maker DJI seeking at least $500 million in pre-IPO…


HONG KONG (Reuters) – China’s SZ DJI Technology Co Ltd, the world’s largest maker of drones for consumers, is in talks with investors for at least $500 million in funding ahead of a planned stock market debut, people with knowledge of the matter said.

FILE PHOTO: A drone is displayed at DJI’s flagship store in Hong Kong, China September 22, 2016. REUTERS/Bobby Yip/File Photo

DJI plans to expand into drones for sectors such as agriculture, energy, construction and for use in infrastructure inspection, two of the three sources said.

With the funding, set to be obtained via a combination of new equity and debt, the firm would be valued at about $15 billion, nearly double its valuation in 2015, they added, declining to be identified as the information was private.

The move adds to a stream of fundraising by companies in the world’s second-largest economy as robust investor enthusiasm for Chinese tech stocks continues to push up valuations to heady levels for many firms.

FILE PHOTO: A Phantom drone by DJI company, equipped with a camera, flies during the 4th Intergalactic Meeting of Phantom’s Pilots (MIPP) in an open secure area in the Bois de Boulogne, western Paris, March 16, 2014. REUTERS/Charles Platiau/File Photo

DJI, which commands 70 percent of the global commercial and consumer drone market, wants to finalize the deal in the coming months while a stock market listing either in Hong Kong or mainland China would likely take place next year, two of the sources said.

Proceeds for Shenzhen-based DJI could be between $500 million and $800 million, one person said.

FILE PHOTO: DJI’s first flagship store is pictured in Shenzhen, Guangdong province, China December 20, 2015. REUTERS/Tyrone Siu/File Photo

A spokeswoman for DJI said in an emailed statement the company had no announcement to make on fundraising and that it was not planning an initial public offering at the moment. She did not elaborate.

DJI was valued at about $8 billion in 2015 when it raised $75 million from Silicon Valley venture capital firm Accel Partners. Its valuation increased to $10 billion last year, said one person.

Online technology publication The Information first reported some details of DJI’s latest fundraising plans on Tuesday.

Reporting by Fiona Lau of IFR and Julie Zhu in HONG KONG; Editing by Sumeet Chatterjee and Edwina Gibbs

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