Shares of Nikola fell to 36.45% over the last week.
Energy giant BP’s announcement on Wednesday that it is abandoning a potential partnership with Nikola, which exacerbated a number of problems faced by the startup in the recent days.
Nikola planned to organize the production of its cars in partnership with other large manufacturers and companies.
Nikola and GM entered into the partnership in the early September, announcing that it will produce Badger hydrogen pickup with GM parts and components in 2022. At the same time, GM will be the exclusive global supplier of fuel cell class ⅞ for trucks and efforts in marketing and sales are entrusted to Nikola.
Nikola also planned to create a fleet of hydrogen trucks, which will be leased and the infrastructure of filling stations for them with the involvement of the large partners for the construction and operation of the stations themselves.
The media reported that Nikola has the agreement with Nel ASA for the supply of equipment for electrolysis and refueling.
It was expected that on August 4 during the reporting conference, Nikola will announce the partnership this year. Production of the fuel cell semi-trailers was scheduled to begin in 2023 at the plant under construction at Nikola’s Coolidge, Arizona.
Some analysts have pointed to the unfounded growth of Nikola’s shares, considering that the company is a startup that does not yet produce its cars, but needs a huge investments and faces many risks.
However, the refusal to partner with BP was probably based on a recent scandal involving a Hindenburg Research report and the resignation of General director, founder of Nikola Trevor Milton.
On September 10, Hindenburg Research, a well-known short selling firm has published a report entitled: “Nikola: how to use the ocean of lies in partnership with the largest automotive OEM in America. ”
The report came a few days after GM announced it was acquiring an 11% shares in Nikola. Hindenburg has accused Trevor Milton of misrepresenting the company’s technology in order to grow and collaborate with car companies.
“We have gathered extensive evidence – including recorded phone calls, text messages, personal emails and behind-the-scenes photos – detailed dozens of erroneous statements by Nikola founder Trevor Milton, Hindenburg wrote. “We have never seen such a level of deception in a public company, especially of such magnitude.”
According to the media reports, The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and the Ministry of Justice have launched an investigation into allegations that Nikola misled investors.
The Hindenburg publication said that in Nikola’s presentation video, the prototype of its truck was “towed to the top of the hill on a remote stretch of the road and to simply filmed rolling down to the hill.”
The video was constructed in the way to make it appear that the truck is moving on its own power plant on a level road.
Nikola rejected Hindenburg’s claims, calling the report “a hit for short selling caused by the greed.”
At the same time, the company did not clearly refute particular allegations.
As for the video, Nikola reported that “It was never said that his truck was powered by its own power plant, although the truck was designed for just that.”
In this case, the reason for the accusation may be that the company did not disclose this information, as there were no statements from the management that the truck did not work on its own.
“It has never been described as ‘driven by its own power plant’ or ‘drive transmission,'” informed the company. Nikola said that the investors were then aware of the possibilities of the prototype of the vehicle, calling the three-year-old video “inappropriate, except for the fact that the seller of short positions is trying to use it as the main thesis.”
The company said it had contacted the SEC and informed it of its “problems with the Hindenburg report.” Nikola has also sued the law firm over potential lawsuits.
Shares of the Nikola closed to 19 percent lower this Monday after the company announced of the sudden dismissal of its CEO, Trevor Milton, who has been under close scrutiny in recent days.
Milton has agreed to step down from his position and duties as executive chairman of the board, as well as from all other seats on the board of subsidiaries of the company, according to the report on the meeting of the Board of Directors on Sunday.
As the result, it is losing about to $ 166 million of the capital, as well as two-year consulting contract, worth to $ 20 million. At the same time, the media pointed out that Milton could go with shares worth more than $ 3.1 billion under the division agreement reached over the weekend.
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