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• Nikola to use proceeds to accelerate its portfolio of battery-electric (BEV) and hydrogen fuel-cell electric vehicles (FCEV) targeting zero emissions globally
• Nikola will build out a hydrogen station infrastructure to support its FCEV vehicles
• Nikola has more than 14,000 pre-orders representing more than $10 billion in potential revenue and two-and-a-half years of production
• Pro forma enterprise value of the merger is approximately $3.3 billion
• Transaction includes a $525 million fully committed common stock PIPE at $10.00 per share anchored by institutional investors including Fidelity Management & Research Company, ValueAct Spring Fund and P. Schoenfeld Asset Management LP
• The company will add Stephen Girsky, current CEO of VectoIQ and former Vice Chairman of General Motors Corporation, to its Board of Directors
Nikola Corporation, a leader in the design and development of BEV and FCEV class 8 semi-trucks, along with VectoIQ Acquisition Corp. (NASDAQ: VTIQ), a publicly-traded special purpose acquisition company, announces that the two companies have entered into a definitive agreement to create a company focused on the development of next generation smart transportation. Upon the closing of the transaction, the combined company will be named Nikola Corporation and is expected to remain NASDAQ-listed under the new ticker symbol “NKLA.”
Nikola is a global leader in zero emissions heavy duty trucks and hydrogen infrastructure. More than $10 billion in pre-order leases to date and the joint venture with European industrial vehicle manufacturer IVECO make Nikola a formidable competitor to other OEMs (original equipment manufacturers). Nikola’s business model uniquely supplies both the truck and hydrogen fueling infrastructure, solving the fleets’ concerns of where to refuel with green hydrogen at competitive pricing to diesel. The transaction proceeds will accelerate production, allow Nikola to break ground on its state-of-the-art manufacturing facility in Coolidge, Arizona, and begin its hydrogen station infrastructure roll out. The company expects to generate revenue by 2021 with the roll out of its BEV truck, followed by FCEV truck sales starting in 2023 and the initial build out of hydrogen fueling stations to serve Nikola customers’ fleets, such as Anheuser-Busch.
Trevor Milton, Founder and CEO of Nikola stated: “We are on a roll. You couldn’t ask for better news for the energy and tech industry. The world is transitioning to zero emission platforms and Nikola is the leader for heavy duty vehicles. We believe we have a differentiated business model built on economics, not government subsidies. We now need to double down and speed up the timelines and get to market. We couldn’t be happier to have Steve Girsky join our board.”
“In our two-year quest to find a partner that was a proven technology leader and focused on making a global difference, Nikola was the clear winner,” said Stephen Girsky, CEO of VectoIQ and former Vice Chairman of General Motors Corporation. “Nikola’s vision of a zero-emission future and ability to execute were key drivers in our decision.”
Mr. Milton will serve as Executive Chairman of the combined company, continuing to lead the vision and forward-looking strategy. Prior to launching Nikola in 2015, Mr. Milton served as CEO of dHybrid Systems, a natural gas storage technology company.
Mark Russell, who has more than 20 years of experience building and managing companies in the manufacturing industry, will serve as the CEO of Nikola. He joined Nikola as President in 2019 and previously served as President and COO of Worthington Industries, a publicly-listed metals manufacturing company.
Kim Brady, currently the CFO at Nikola, will continue in that role post-close. Mr. Brady has more than 20 years of experience in private equity and investment banking. Prior to joining Nikola, Mr. Brady served as Senior Managing Director at Solic Capital, as well as CFO and General Manager at various companies in the manufacturing, business services and healthcare sectors.
The transaction reflects an implied enterprise value at closing of $3.3 billion. Cash proceeds raised in connection with the transaction, which will primarily be used to fund operations, support growth and for other general corporate purposes, will be funded through a combination of VectoIQ’s cash in trust and a $525 million private placement of common stock at $10.00 per share led by institutional investors including Fidelity Management & Research Company, ValueAct Spring Fund and P. Schoenfeld Asset Management LP. Current Nikola stockholders will remain majority owners of the combined company at closing.
The boards of directors of both VectoIQ and Nikola have unanimously approved the proposed transaction. Completion of the proposed transaction is subject to approval of VectoIQ and Nikola stockholders and other customary closing conditions, including a registration statement being declared effective by the Securities and Exchange Commission, and is expected to be completed in the second quarter of 2020.
Additional information about the proposed transaction, including a copy of the business combination agreement and investor presentation, will be provided in a Current Report on Form 8-K that will contain an investor presentation to be filed by VectoIQ with the Securities and Exchange Commission and available at www.sec.gov.
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Press Release (Plug Power)
Plug Power Inc. (NASDAQ: PLUG), a leading provider of hydrogen engines and fueling solutions enabling e-mobility, today announced their partnership with Colorado-based Lightning Systems, a global developer of zero-emission drivetrains. This collaboration enables both companies to offer the world’s first electric, fuel cell-powered Class 6 trucks (up to 12.5 tons) capable of supporting middle-mile delivery logistics between warehouses and distribution centers.
The zero-emission commercial trucks produced by the partnership will be powered by an integrated hybrid-electric drivetrain consisting of Plug Power’s ProGen fuel cell engines coupled with Lightning Systems’ electric vehicle drivetrain and batteries. As part of the company’s long-standing commitment to reliability, efficiency, and cost-saving solutions, Lightning Systems also will offer customers powered by its artificial neural network technology. This technology enables customers to easily track vehicle and fuel cell system data for analysis, driver training, and route optimization. Plug Power provides the world’s largest service and support network of certified fuel cell service technicians deployed throughout North America. Final production and testing of the new vehicles will be completed at Plug Power’s headquarters in Latham, New York, before they are made commercially available to the public in the third quarter of 2020.
Plug Power and Lightning Systems will deliver both standard and long-range Class 6 trucks through their partnership, taking full advantage of the value that fuel cells offer in commercial fleets where high utilization, long range, fast fueling, and maximization of cargo volume and payload are important. Plug Power’s ProGen engines provide 90 kW of fuel cell power and utilize the latest generation of the company’s proprietary MEA and metal plate stack technology, which delivers industry-leading power density. The standard vehicle offering includes an impressive 20kg of on-board hydrogen storage, delivering average range (for typical route profiles) in excess of 200 miles. An extended range option is also available, effectively doubling the standard average range to 400 miles.
“We’re thrilled to be partnering with Lightning Systems to expand our ProGen offerings with a new Class 6 trucking solution,” says Plug Power CEO Andy Marsh. “This partnership allows us to meet our customers’ needs at every stage of their journey from fuel cell-powered forklifts on the warehouse floor to last-mile delivery and now middle-mile delivery between distribution centers as well. We’re proud to say that we now offer sustainable solutions for every link in the global supply chain.”
“Lightning’s modular powertrains were designed to support both battery-electric and fuel cell-electric vehicle configurations, so this is a natural next product for us,” said Tim Reeser, CEO for Lightning Systems. “Plug Power’s hydrogen fuel cell system dovetails elegantly with our existing technology.”
Plug Power and Lightning Systems bring a wealth of experience in the material handling, logistics and trucking industries. The companies have spent a combined three decades servicing leading companies around the globe.
About Plug Power Inc.
The architect of modern hydrogen and fuel cell technology, Plug Power is the innovator that has taken hydrogen and fuel cell technology from concept to commercialization. Plug Power has revolutionized the material handling industry with its full-service GenKey solution, which is designed to increase productivity, lower operating costs and reduce carbon footprints in a reliable, cost-effective way. The Company’s GenKey solution couples together all the necessary elements to power, fuel and serve a customer. With proven hydrogen and fuel cell products, Plug Power replaces lead acid batteries to power electric industrial vehicles, such as the lift trucks customers use in their distribution centers.
Extending its reach into the on-road electric vehicle market, Plug Power’s ProGen platform of modular fuel cell engines empowers OEMs and system integrators to rapidly adopt hydrogen fuel cell technology. ProGen engines are proven today, with thousands in service, supporting some of the most rugged operations in the world. Plug Power is the partner that customers trust to take their businesses into the future. Learn more at www.plugpower.com.
About Lightning Systems
Lightning Systems designs and manufacturers premium zero-emission, all-electric powertrains for commercial fleets – from Class 3 Ford Transit vans to Class 6 work trucks and Class 7 and 8 city buses. The Lightning team works with forward-thinking fleets to provide the right electric powertrain on the right chassis in the right drive cycle. Lightning’s products improve a fleet’s operating costs and safety, and leverage advanced telematics and analytics reporting designed to support commercial electric vehicle fleets as they scale. For more information, contact Lightning Systems at 800-223-0740 or visit lightningsystems.com.
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TRUTH OR CONSEQUENCES, N.M.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Virgin Galactic Holdings, Inc. (NYSE: SPCE) (“Virgin Galactic” or “the Company”), a vertically integrated aerospace company, has successfully completed another vital step on its path to commercial service, relocating SpaceShipTwo, VSS Unity, to its commercial headquarters at Spaceport America’s Gateway to Space building.
VSS Unity, attached to the carrier aircraft, VMS Eve, made the journey from Mojave, California, where the Company’s manufacturing facilities are based. The vehicle landed at 15:49 MT, where it was greeted by an enthusiastic group of teammates who will operate the spaceship in New Mexico.
This captive carry flight provided an opportunity for engineers to evaluate VSS Unity for over three hours at high altitude and cold temperatures, a longer period of time than is experienced during missions to space. These environmental evaluations of system performance are difficult to replicate at ground level, making captive carry missions a vital component of VSS Unity’s flight test plan.
The flight also provided a valuable opportunity to conduct pilot training and familiarization, with veteran Italian Air Force Test Pilot Nicola ‘Stick’ Pecile joining Chief Pilot Dave ‘Mac’ Mackay in the cockpit of the spaceship for the first time. Nicola is the fifth pilot to complete a flight in VSS Unity. VMS Eve was piloted by Mike ‘Sooch’ Masucci and Frederick ‘CJ’ Sturckow.
The move of the spaceship to Spaceport America marks a key step in the relocation of Virgin Galactic’s to the state of New Mexico. In May 2019, Virgin Galactic announced that as part of this move, approximately 100 teammates would move to New Mexico from Mojave, California, Spaceport America would become operational and the vehicles would be transferred to the Gateway to Space. Today, nearly all of those team members have relocated, the spaceport is operationally ready, and both VMS Eve and VSS Unity have now arrived. Of Virgin Galactic’s total current New Mexico work force, more than 70 team members have been hired locally, the result of a conscious effort to attract New Mexico-based talent.
“New Mexico is going to be the world’s launchpad for commercial spaceflight,” New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham said. “Today marks another step closer: We will have a genuine Space Valley in Southern New Mexico, a hotbed of innovation and achievement and space tourism development. I congratulate Virgin Galactic’s workers, George Whitesides and Sir Richard Branson on today’s successful flight – and once again I say to them: Welcome to New Mexico, we’re very glad to have you!”
“When Virgin Galactic started moving to New Mexico last year, everyone felt the sheer magnitude of the task ahead, but we were encouraged and excited by the team’s confidence and strong vision for the future,” said George Whitesides, CEO of Virgin Galactic. “Today we realized the next step in that dream by bringing our beautiful spaceship to New Mexico. We still have significant work ahead, but we are grateful to all our teammates who have made this day a reality.”
The relocation of VSS Unity to Spaceport America enables the Company to engage in the final stages of its flight test program. This will begin with a number of initial captive carry and glide flights from the new operating base in New Mexico, allowing the spaceflight operations team to familiarize themselves with the airspace and ground control. Once these tests are complete, the team will carry out a number of rocket-powered test flights from Spaceport America to continue the evaluation of VSS Unity’s performance. During this phase, the final spaceship cabin and customer experience evaluations will also be concluded in preparation for the start of commercial spaceflight operations.
The Spaceship Company, Virgin Galactic’s design, testing and manufacturing arm, remains firmly rooted in Mojave, California. While VMS Eve and VSS Unity are now based in New Mexico, they will make periodic journeys back to Mojave to support ground and flight tests of new spaceships, as well as for vehicle maintenance and upgrade activities. There is significant progress being made on the next two spaceships, including achieving the Weight on Wheels milestone for the second spaceship and completing over 50% of the structural and system part fabrication for the third spaceship, which were announced in January.
Dan Hicks, Spaceport America’s Executive Director, congratulated the Virgin Galactic team, saying, “This truly is the dawn of a new era for the commercial space sector. We are tremendously proud of our foundational partner Virgin Galactic - as we see and support their historic progress in making human space flight a reality for our beautiful world. The New Mexico and Spaceport America leadership will continue our strong support for our visionary Virgin Galactic teammates; and we are looking forward to an exciting 2020!”
About Virgin Galactic
Virgin Galactic is a vertically-integrated aerospace company, pioneering human spaceflight for private individuals and researchers, as well as a manufacturer of advanced air and space vehicles. Using its proprietary and reusable technologies and supported by a distinctive, Virgin-branded customer experience, it is developing a spaceflight system designed to offer customers a unique, multi-day, transformative experience. This culminates in a spaceflight that includes views of Earth from space and several minutes of weightlessness that will launch from Spaceport America, New Mexico. Virgin Galactic and The Spaceship Company believe that one of the most exciting and significant opportunities of our time lies in the commercial exploration of space and the development of technology that will change the way we travel across the globe in the future. Together we are opening access to space to change the world for good.
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Colorado Secretary of State Jena Griswold Releases Economic Indicators Report for Fourth Quarter 2019
Today, the Colorado Secretary of State, in partnership with the University of Colorado Leeds School of Business Research Division, released the quarterly indicators report for the fourth quarter of 2019. The report shows that Colorado’s economy continues to outperform the nation in many economic indicators and employment growth will continue into 2020, but at a more modest pace.
“While growth has slowed the last two quarters, Colorado’s economy is still strong,” said Secretary Jena Griswold. "With business leaders’ confidence improving, indications point to Colorado’s economy staying strong in 2020."
The Business Research Division at the University of Colorado Leeds School of Business compiles the report using data from the Secretary of State’s central business registry. The report looks at a variety of factors, such as energy costs, the labor market, and inflation.
The report shows the relationship between new business filings, new business formation, and employment growth. New business filings are typically linked to job growth, but total new business filings declined 0.4% year-over-year, which may point to employment growth occurring at a slower rate in 2020. Colorado saw an increase in jobs of 2.1% from November 2018 to 2019, and the state’s unemployment rate dipped to 2.5%, an historic low that is the fifth lowest in the United States.
After slipping in the final quarter of 2019, confidence of business leaders is up heading into the first quarter of 2020, according to the Leeds Business Confidence Index. Expectations for the state’s economy, industry sales, hiring, and capital expenditures have all increased entering the new year.
Colorado personal income increased 5.3% in Q3 of 2019, well ahead of the national personal income growth rate of 4.4% over the same time period. Colorado annual average wages, currently at $60,340, also continue to outpace the nation by around $2,100.
Colorado’s overall economy grew 3.3% year-over-year in Q3 2019. The Mining industry recorded the largest year-over-year gains.
The full report is available here and previous reports can be found here.
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Amazon announces big expansion plans in Colorado Springs
Press Release (Amazon.com)
Amazon currently employs more than 4,000 people in Colorado;
new facility will employ more than 1,000 associates
Amazon today announced plans to open a new fulfillment center in Colorado Springs, Colorado, creating more than 1,000 full-time jobs starting at $15 an hour with comprehensive benefits starting on day one. Amazon currently employs more than 4,000 full-time associates throughout the State of Colorado.
"We're excited to open a new, state-of-the-art fulfillment center in Colorado Springs. Colorado has a talented workforce, and we are very excited to grow employment beyond the more than 4,000 associates already serving customers in the state," said Alicia Boler Davis, Amazon's Vice President of Global Customer Fulfillment.
“The City of Colorado Springs is thrilled to welcome this new Amazon facility to our community,” said Mayor John Suthers. “The arrival of this incredibly successful and innovative company brings with it a wealth of good-paying jobs in our Southeast quadrant and continued positive growth at the Colorado Springs Airport. I commend the Colorado Springs Airport, the city’s economic development division and our partners at the Colorado Springs Chamber and EDC for yet another very positive development for the City of Colorado Springs.”
Amazon will fulfill customer orders such as books, electronics, and toys from this 800,000-square-foot fulfillment center. All associates will go through safety training and have access to continuing education opportunities through Amazon's upskilling programs such as Career Choice. In the Career Choice program, the company will pre-pay up to 95 percent of tuition for courses related to in-demand fields, regardless of whether the skills are relevant to a career at Amazon. Since the program's launch, over 25,000 employees have pursued degrees in game design and visual communications, nursing, IT programming and radiology, to name a few.
On top of Amazon's $15 minimum wage, the company offers full-time employees comprehensive benefits including full medical, vision, and dental insurance as well as a 401(k) with 50 percent match starting on day one. The company also offers up to 20 weeks of maternal and parental paid leave and innovative benefits such as Leave Share and Ramp Back, which give new parents flexibility with their growing families. In addition, Amazon has pledged to invest over $700 million to provide upskilling training for 100,000 U.S. employees for in-demand jobs. Programs will help Amazonians from all backgrounds access training to move into highly skilled roles across the company's corporate offices, tech hubs, fulfilment centers, retail stores, and transportation network, or to pursue career paths outside of Amazon.
Amazon's fulfillment network supports businesses of all sizes worldwide through its Fulfillment By Amazon offering, and many of those local organizations are based right here in Colorado. There are more than 45,000 authors, small and medium-sized businesses, and developers in Colorado growing their companies and reaching new customers on Amazon products and services. Amazon has invested $1.5 billion in Colorado including customer fulfillment and cloud infrastructure, research facilities, and compensation to our employees. A result of Amazon’s investments in Colorado, more than $1 billion has been added into the state GDP.
In 2019, Amazon released a report that revealed the top 10 states with the fastest-growing small and medium-sized businesses. The State of Colorado was sixth on the list. The report examined year-over-year sales growth of businesses selling in Amazon’s stores across all 50 states. Amazon helps facilitate online selling and provides the logistics behind-the-scenes that help enable businesses, particularly those located in rural areas, to reach customers around the globe.
The project is being developed by Trammell Crow.
Amazon is guided by four principles: customer obsession rather than competitor focus, passion for invention, commitment to operational excellence, and long-term thinking. Customer reviews, 1-Click shopping, personalized recommendations, Prime, Fulfillment by Amazon, AWS, Kindle Direct Publishing, Kindle, Fire tablets, Fire TV, Amazon Echo, and Alexa are some of the products and services pioneered by Amazon. For more information, visit amazon.com/about and follow @AmazonNews.