According to negative press: Should GM negotiations fail: New Nikola CEO Mark Russell sticks to “basic plan” | message
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Fraud allegations from Hindenburg Research
US Securities and Exchange Commission investigated
Mark Russell heads the company after Trevor Milton’s resignation
Negative headlines in September
At the beginning of September, the hybrid vehicle manufacturer Nikola and General Motors announced a cooperation for Nikolas E-Pickup-Truck. Shortly thereafter, the shortseller Hindenburg Research accused Nikola founder and CEO Trevor Milton of having made false statements and accused him of fraud. The company sent Milton 53 questions in total, which he promised to answer. In fact, he only commented on ten of them, either confirming or circumventing the allegations. In some cases, he even raised new, unanswered questions, according to Hindenburg Research. As a result of the fraud allegations, the US stock market regulator began to investigate the Tesla competitor. Less than a week later, founder and CEO Trevor Milton announced that he would be leaving the company with immediate effect. “Nikola is really in my blood and always will, and the focus should be on the company and its world-changing mission, not me,” Milton said in a statement.
GM cooperation threatened?
The company is currently still in negotiations with General Motors. The details of the cooperation should actually be clarified by September 30th, but the talks will now run until December 3rd. Originally it was planned that the “Badger” would make use of GM’s Ultium battery technology. The partnership also included the transfer of Nikola shares worth $ 2 billion to General Motors. This should give Nikola access to GM’s services and components. Nothing is known about the current conditions of the partnership. In the meantime, however, Mark Russell, who has been with the company since 2019, has taken over the helm at Nikola. In an interview with Brian Sozzi from Yahoo Finance, Milton’s successor now declares that the group will continue to pursue its plans without its partner GM if no agreement can be reached.
The basic plan does not provide for a partnership
Russell does not see his company at a disadvantage if the deal with General Motors now bursts. “That was our basic plan before the GM negotiations. We have a fuel cell program that we have been working on with Bosch for several years. Of course we have a battery program – we are going into production with our own battery-electric vehicles,” said the CEO. “We would like to have access to GM’s Ultium battery, we both have substantial technology that is very promising. But if not, we have a basic plan and can go to market ourselves if necessary,” Russell adds the discussions about a partnership. According to Yahoo Finance, however, going it alone could mean that the Badger pickup truck will not be produced and Nikola will instead concentrate on making battery and hydrogen-powered Class 8 trucks.
Nikola plans to raise capital – at the right time
In order to increase its manufacturing capacities, Nikola also has to raise some funds first before the company earns money. Therefore, it is likely that the group will raise capital next year. This coincides with Russell’s statements in the interview: “We have been communicating for some time – actually for most of the year – in our documents to investors that we want to carry out a further capital increase that includes an equity increase next 12 to 18 months. ” To do this, however, they want to wait for the best possible time on the market in order to be able to benefit optimally from a capital increase. “We would do this opportunistically based on market conditions.  We plan to enter another equity tranche and we will do so when the conditions are best, “said Russell.
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