Chinese fuel cell maker eyeing SPAC deal for $1B US listing

A Chinese provider of hydrogen used in fuel cell vehicles is considering a Nasdaq debut early next year via a SPAC merger that would land it a $1 billion valuation after listing.

If the deal with its undisclosed suitor goes through, Shenzhen State Fuel Cell Corporation (SFCC) will become the latest in a long line of electric vehicle companies to choose the short route to an IPO.

The deal comes at a time when companies that took the SPAC route are facing increasing scrutiny in the U.S., as many EV companies that went public in the last two years haven’t fared well, leading to the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) launching investigations into allegations of misleading shareholders.

Promising companies, including Nikola, Lordstown Motors and Faraday Future, have been forced to pare down projections and plans following allegations that they mislead investors with unrealistic projections.

The SEC proposed new guidelines to monitor these deals in March.

SFCC, which provides the fuel cell system for commercial vehicles made by several Chinese companies, said it expects revenue to rise at a significant tick this year. The company is working with local governments to build hydrogen refueling stations for commercial vehicles.

A fuel cell vehicle is a type of electric vehicle propelled by a mixture of hydrogen fuel and oxygen. The technology, which has come in and out of vogue over the last decade for passenger vehicles, has not gained widespread adoption in the U.S. due to a lack of refueling infrastructure, but is becoming increasingly popular for buses and heavy transport.

But China, the world’s largest hydrogen producer and third-largest market for FCVs behind Japan and South Korea, aims to put 1 million FCVs on the road by 2035.

Toyota, Honda and other global automakers have also invested in research and development to bring fuel cell vehicles to market.