Private Equity-Backed Ucar Approved For NEEQ Listing

Ucar Group, a mobile app-based chauffeured car service unit launched by Chinese rental car company Car Inc., has been approved to list on China’s New Third Board.

The company applied to list in April after announcing a RMB3.68 billion (US$569 million) new financing round from Alibaba Group Holdings Ltd., China International Capital Corp, CITIC Securities and Shenwan Hongyuan.

Alibaba later transferred its shareholding in Ucar to its affiliated funds, Yunfeng Capital and Yunling Capital, reportedly due to protests from Didi Chuxing, in which Alibaba is also a shareholder.

Officially launched in January 2015, Ucar received US$250 million from Warburg Pincus LLC, parent company Car Inc., Legend Holdings and other investors in July that year.

Two months later, Warburg Pincus and Legend Holdings joined a US$550 million series B round in Ucar.

In April 2014, Ucar raised RMB3.68 billion (US$569 million) from Alibaba, China International Capital Corp, CITIC Securities and Shenwan Hongyuan.

Alibaba invested around RMB2.8 billion in Ucar Group to take a 9.8% stake, before transferring its shares to affiliated funds at the same price.

Ucar recorded revenues of RMB1.7 billion and net loss of RMB3.7 billion in 2015, compared to revenues of RMB614,700 and net loss of RMB48.6 million in 2014, according to its prospectus.

The company’s losses appear to be shrinking, according to its newly released data. Its loss has declined 38% to RMB555 million during the first quarte from RMB905 million during the fourth quarter of 2015.

Ucar’s business model is different from rival Didi Chuxing, which allows private car owners to offer rides to users.

Ucar owns all of its cars, potentially putting it at an advantage if any tightening regulations on ride share are implemented in China.