Home Business Nikola shares plunge after CEO says startup can go it alone

Nikola shares plunge after CEO says startup can go it alone


Nikola shares sank as a lot as 16% in Friday buying and selling after the electric-truck startup’s chief govt officer stated he sees a path for his firm even when it might probably’t come to phrases with General Motors on a proposed strategic partnership.

Talks between the 2 firms are ongoing, but when a tentative technology-sharing and manufacturing deal announced final month falls aside, Nikola will revert to a “base plan” with out GM’s assist, CEO Mark Russell stated in an interview late Thursday.

“Now we have the flexibility and we have now a base plan of doing it ourselves. If we have now a accomplice, that simply allows us to think about going quicker and helps scale back the chance,” he stated. “We’ve confirmed that through the years that we’re a partnership firm when these issues can be found to us.”

The Phoenix-based firm’s relationship with its would-be accomplice has been the topic of intense scrutiny since Nikola and its founder and former chairman Trevor Milton had been accused of deception. Each the corporate and Milton have denied these claims.

GM is eyeing an 11% stake in Nikola as a part of a cash-free deal in trade for offering entry to fuel-cell expertise and for manufacturing the startup’s electrical pickup. Nikola has stopped referring to that car, known as the Badger, in its public statements as talks proceed with GM forward of a Dec. 3 deadline.

Russell stated Nikola is ready to drop the truck if it might probably’t safe an settlement with an authentic tools producer like GM.

“The Badger is a part of our discussions with GM. And we’ve been clear all alongside that we wouldn’t construct a Badger with out an OEM accomplice,” he stated.

When requested if GM’s revamped Detroit-Hamtramck plant will construct the Nikola Badger alongside a deliberate electrical Hummer pickup, GM’s Govt Vice President of World Manufacturing Gerald Johnson stated the 2 sides are nonetheless negotiating.

“Now we have not finalized a deal,” Johnson stated Friday. “We’re engaged on the small print.”

The Detroit-based automaker may push to lift its deliberate stake in Nikola or search warrants to ensure or improve its fairness if the corporate raises extra money, folks aware of the matter said recently.

Shares of Nikola pared its earlier drop to commerce down 14% to $20.07 as of 1:50 p.m. in New York. The inventory has fallen greater than 70% from a excessive of $79.73 in early June shortly after the corporate gained a public itemizing by means of a reverse merger.

Nikola additionally has held talks with main oil firm BP about establishing a community of hydrogen-fueling stations throughout North America, Bloomberg reported final month. The standing of these discussions is unclear, however the firm has stated it plans to announce a accomplice by year-end.

Russell reaffirmed that timeline and declined to touch upon BP or specify some other potential accomplice. However he additionally stated Nikola has a plan to develop hydrogen infrastructure by itself if it’s unable to rearrange an acceptable alliance.

Nikola does have agreements with different expertise suppliers, together with a partnership with Robert Bosch GmbH to co-develop fuel-cell expertise. Two of the startup’s heavy-truck prototypes use gasoline cells from Bosch and the corporate has stated its bigger German accomplice will proceed to provide cells for automobiles produced in Europe.

Nikola is also engaged on a battery-electric semi truck to be constructed subsequent 12 months in Ulm, Germany, in a three way partnership with CNH Industrial NV’s Iveco unit. It in the end plans to fabricate a fuel-cell-powered large rig at its personal plant in Coolidge, Az., which is beneath development.

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