Chinese Drone Maker DJI Seeks At Least $500 Million In Funds

Chinese Drone Maker DJI Seeks At Least $500 Million In Funds

Reuters reports that China’s SZ DJI Technology Co Ltd, the world’s largest maker of non-military drones, 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.

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 said.

The move seeks to capitalize on robust investor enthusiasm for Chinese tech stocks which have pushed valuations to heady levels for many firms, as well as on rapid growth in demand for commercial-use drones.

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

Shenzhen-based DJI plans to expand into drones for sectors such as agriculture, energy, construction as well as drones for use in infrastructure inspection, two of the three people said, declining to be identified as the information was private.

Proceeds from the fundraising could be between $500 million and $800 million, one person said.

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, they added.

But there are also risks to its business, with U.S. President Donald Trump set to announce tariffs on Chinese imports on Thursday.

Drone technology tends to spark extra scrutiny due to concern the unmanned aircraft may be used to capture sensitive information.

DJI made headlines in 2015 when its one of its top-selling consumer drones, the Phantom, crashed into the White House lawn and last August, the U.S. Army ordered its members to stop using DJI drones because of “cyber vulnerabilities”. DJI has since tightened data security on its drones.

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