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A Nikola hydrogen station.
Courtesy of Nikola
Electrical- and hydrogen-fuel-cell-powered truck maker
had a tumultuous 2020, which included quick sellers, administration departure, and buyer cancellations.
The corporate’s annual submitting, launched Thursday afternoon, reviewed a number of the key occasions. It additionally revealed new info Wall Road analysts didn’t ask about on the corporate’s earnings convention name.
Nikola (ticker: NKLA) and its traders loved the highest of highs and lowest of lows in 2020. Shares hit virtually $94, giving the corporate a market worth of greater than $40 billion, or roughly the identical market cap of century-old auto maker
Shares settled down however traded north of $50 after a proposed deal with
(GM) for engineering and manufacturing assist in addition to elements provide.
Then got here a unfavorable analysis report from quick vendor Hindenburg Analysis alleging that administration misled traders. Within the aftermath of the report, an analyst downgraded shares to Promote and founder
left the corporate. Nikola inventory fell to about $10, making the corporate value about $4.5 billion.
Nikola denied the claims however carried out an inner investigation, run by Kirkland & Ellis, wanting into the Hindenburg report. The corporate’s annual 10k submitting up to date traders in regards to the standing of that investigation, stating that its findings had been “inconsistent with the primary conclusion of the Hindenburg article that the Firm was an intricate or large fraud.” The investigation did reveal that 9 statements made by Milton had been “inaccurate in complete or partially”:
In July 2016, the Firm acknowledged that it owned rights to pure gasoline wells, and in August 2016 that the wells had been used as a backup to photo voltaic hydrogen manufacturing;
In August 2016, Milton and the Firm acknowledged that the Firm had engineered a zero emissions truck;
In December 2016, Milton acknowledged that the Nikola One was a completely functioning car;
That an October 2017 video launched by the Firm seemed the Nikola One was pushed;
In April 2019, Milton acknowledged that photo voltaic panels on the roof of the Firm’s headquarters produce roughly 18 megawatts of power a day;
In December 2019 and July 2020, Milton acknowledged that the Firm “can produce” over 1,000 kg of hydrogen on the Firm’s demo stations and that the Firm was “down beneath” $3/kg at the moment;
In July 2020, Milton acknowledged that “all main elements are completed in home”; he made comparable statements in June 2020;
In July 2020, Milton acknowledged that the inverter software program was probably the most superior on the planet and that different OEMs had requested to make use of it; and
In July 2020, Milton acknowledged that 5 vehicles had been “coming off the meeting line” in Ulm, Germany.
Nikola declined to touch upon the disclosures, explaining that it doesn’t touch upon ongoing litigation. Nikola is dealing with lawsuits and regulatory investigations associated to the quick vendor’s report.
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Hydrogen prices are a giant deal for Nikola and the whole fledgling hydrogen business. A kilogram of hydrogen could be considered, very roughly, as a gallon of diesel gas. Getting prices underneath $4 a kilogram for truck drivers is seen as a key stage for hydrogen expertise to be extra extensively adopted, changing diesel engines. In the present day, retail hydrogen costs in California can exceed $16 a kilogram. Nikola believes utilizing low-cost electrical energy and producing hydrogen at its company-owned filling stations from water can dramatically scale back prices.
Wall Road didn’t seem within the disclosures on the corporate’s earnings convention name held Thursday afternoon. Hindenburg got here up solely as soon as when Nikola administration reviewed sudden prices.
Analysts might not have raised questions as a result of they know the corporate received’t have a lot so as to add. Many of the analysts’ notes printed after earnings centered on the corporate’s 2021 milestones, which embody delivering its first automobiles for industrial service. That doesn’t imply Wall Road isn’t paying consideration. “This authorized situation continues to be an overhang on the story and a problem that the administration crew must navigate wanting forward,” Wedbush analyst Dan Ives advised Barron’s. Ives charges Nikola shares Maintain and has a $25 worth goal for the inventory.
The inventory, at about $18, is roughly 60% decrease than ranges across the time of the GM announcement. Traders, it seems, are discounting the prices and dangers related to litigation.
Nonetheless, Nikola shares are up about 19% yr thus far, higher than the comparable returns of the S&P 500 and Dow Jones Industrial Common.
Write to Al Root at [email protected]