Lordstown Motors just turned the most up-to-date higher-traveling electric automobile startup to slide beneath regulatory scrutiny as a outcome of shorter-sellers having goal at the overheated EV SPAC sector.
On Wednesday, CEO Steve Burns verified that the firm had obtained “requests for information” from the Securities and Trade Fee with regards to accusations by Hindenburg Investigation, a brief seller that accused the electric powered truck startup of fabricating orders and deceptive consumers and buyers about production timeline.
Lordstown shares tumbled just about 10 p.c on Thursday early morning.
In a report past 7 days, Hindenburg alleged that Lordstown “is an EV SPAC with no earnings and no sellable products.” The Typical Motors-backed startup, named following the Ohio city where GM famously shuttered a factory in 2019, has claimed that it has a lot more than 100,000 pre-orders for Stamina as proof of powerful purchaser curiosity in the design.
“Our extensive study reveals that the company’s orders surface mainly fictitious and used as a prop to elevate cash and confer legitimacy,” Hindenburg alleged. The small vendor cited proof such as a 14,000-truck offer truly worth $735 million with a organization registered out of a modest household apartment in Texas and a 1,000-truck order by a two-person startup operating in a digital business office.
In addition, Hindenburg estimates that Lordstown is 3 to 4 a long time absent from producing the pickup even with its statements that production is on monitor to start in September.
The chain of occasions is a far too familiar replay of Nikola‘s extraordinary slide from grace previous yr. In September, Hindenburg accused the hydrogen EV startup and its flamboyant founder, Trevor Milton, of lying to traders about the company’s the core know-how. The saga finished with Milton leaving Nikola, shutting down his social media accounts, and a $2 billion GM offer slipping through.
On Thursday, Nikola shares also took a strike just after an additional vital investor, South Korea’s Hanwha Corp, determined to slash its stake in the organization by 50 percent.
Nikola and Lordstown are among a slew of early-phase EV startups that went public through SPACS, shell companies that go general public for the sole function of absorbing personal corporations. Lordstown went public last September by a merger with DiamondPeak Holdings valuing the startup at $1.6 billion. Nikola went community last June in a $3.3 billion merger with VectoIQ Acquisition Corp.
Lordstown shares have halved in the earlier four months from its February substantial. The organization at the moment offers a sector worth of $2.2 billion. Nikola’s market cap stands at $6 billion. Shares have dropped 75 % from its peak previous summertime.
Other income-much less transportation firms that have absent general public by SPACs in the earlier 18 months include things like Los Angeles-primarily based Fisker, Richard Branson’s Virgin Galactic and Bill Gates-backed battery maker QuantumScape. A quantity of not long ago announced SPAC specials are expected to get started buying and selling quickly. Notable sector debuts to look at involve Lucid Motors, traveling auto startups Joby Aviation and Archer Aviation.