August 10, 2023

Proterra won’t fight Nasdaq delisting


Electric bus and battery maker Proterra Inc. won’t fight its Aug. 17 delisting from the Nasdaq as it works on a bankruptcy reorganization plan.

Proterra filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection on Monday. On Tuesday, shareholders exited the company in droves. Shares fell 88% to close at 17 cents. They fell an additional 10.29% Wednesday to 15 cents. Proterra warned what could happen in its second-quarter 10-Q filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

“Our post-bankruptcy capital structure is yet to be determined, and any changes to our capital structure may have a material adverse effect on existing debt and security holders, including holders of our common stock,” Proterra said.

In other words, a wipeout.

Shareholders on June 23 approved the doubling of authorized shares from 500 million to 1 billion, intended to give Proterra flexibility to raise capital by selling new shares. As of June 30, about 227.8 million shares of common stock were outstanding.

Q2 loss narrows while revenue rises

According to the 10-Q, Proterra’s revenue rose to $77.1 million from $70.3 million a year ago. The quarterly loss was $31 million, or 14 cents a share, compared to $42 million, or 19 cents, a year ago.

Massive debt — $175.9 including $22.4 million of interest — was a catalyst that drove the Burlingame, California-based company to seek bankruptcy protection. The filing shields Proterra from having to pay the loan, which became due immediately when Proterra filed its bankruptcy petition.

Proterra plans to keep operating and will ask the bankruptcy court to allow it to use its $62.4 million in cash and equivalents to pay employee salaries and suppliers while blocking collection of debt.

“We are subject to the risks and uncertainties associated with Chapter 11 proceedings, including the approval by the bankruptcy court of our use of cash collateral,” the 10-Q filing said. “Operating under bankruptcy court protection for a long period of time may harm our business.”

Customers wait for battery packs

Battery pack production is especially important to Nikola Corp., which said it was relying on Proterra to provide packs for its fuel cell electric trucks going into production this quarter.

Nikola’s issues with its main battery supplier, Romeo Power, have cost the company tens of millions after it purchased Romeo for $144 million in stock a year ago. Nikola is liquidating Romeo’s assets after pulling back on production of battery-electric trucks. If Proterra cannot deliver packs for the trucks, Nikola could face another challenge to its survival.

Proterra also supplies battery packs to Daimler Truck North America for its Freightliner Custom Chassis Corp. and Thomas Built Bus subsidiaries. DTNA invested in the special purpose acquisition company that took Proterra public in 2021. Former DTNA CEO Roger Nielsen became Proterra’s chairman in May.

Proterra wants to separate its three business units and is looking for buyers for one or more of them.

Based on Q2 results, the strongest candidate to go appears to be the bus business, which is the legacy operation started 19 years ago. Revenue fell to $21.1 million from $50.8 million a year ago. Proterra Powered & Energy booked $64.6 million in revenue compared to $23.7 million a year ago.

EV battery maker Proterra files for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection

Former Daimler Truck CEO becomes chairman of Proterra

Startups struggling to make financial ends meet

Click for more FreightWaves articles by Alan Adler.


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