* Beijing EV will be profitable next year at latest
* State-owned automaker to give employees shares
* Electric vehicle battery costs rapidly declining
(Adds quote, details)
BEIJING, March 6 (Reuters) - The green energy car subsidiary
of Chinese automaker Beijing Automotive Group plans
an initial public offering in 2018, Chairman Xu Heyi said on
Monday, adding that the unit should be profitable that year.
China has aggressively promoted battery electric and plug-in
hybrid cars, including spending billions of dollars in
subsidies, in an effort to cut heavy urban smog and promote
technological innovation in its auto sector.
Xu said battery production costs for Beijing Electric
Vehicle Co, which is backed by the group's listed subsidiary
BAIC Motor Corp, are dropping by 15-20 percent per
Its battery costs have more than halved to 1,500 yuan to
2,000 yuan ($215-$290) per unit in the last three or four years,
he said, and will soon be near 1,000 yuan per unit.
While the central government is phasing out green car
subsidies through 2020, the firm will need government support
for only three more years at most, said Xu, who is a delegate to
China's parliament, on the sidelines of the legislative session
that runs until March 15.
"People are wondering, at the end of 2020 when overall
government financial support will end, will the new energy
vehicle industry fall off a cliff?" Xu said.
"There is no chance that will happen."
China's state-owned regulator has given Beijing EV approval
to allot shares to certain management and technical employees as
part of government moves to introduce mixed ownership to
state-owned firms like Beijing Auto.
($1 = 6.8950 Chinese yuan renminbi)
(Reporting by Yawen Chen and Jake Spring; Editing by Ruth