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EV Notes: More Layoffs at Arrival, Other Startups Look to Raise More Money

Oct. 16, 2023
Rivian markets $1.5 billion in debt, Polestar preps offering and ChargePoint brings in more than $230M.

After cutting 50% of their workforce earlier this year, the leaders of electric van manufacturer Arrival have launched another round of layoffs. The company filed paperwork Tuesday that said it “took actions” to reduce operating costs and optimize its cash resources. One of those actions included “the difficult decision to reduce its global workforce by up to approximately 25%.”

The layoffs early this year brought the company’s employee count down to 800, meaning this round will leave it with about 600 people remaining. It will mark the fourth round of layoffs since the company first went public in 2021.

2023 has marked a particularly rough year for the company, which went public with the intention of making an electric bus as well as vans. In April, executives announced that Arrival would enter a business combination with the Kensington Capital Acquisition Corp. V special-purpose acquisition vehicle. Kensington would have brought $283 million in cash to the partnership but the deal went sour in July and the two split before Arrival could get the much-needed cash infusion.

The company’s status is very much in limbo: Executives have not released quarterly earnings since May and have yet to schedule a date for any future report. And the company’s remaining product, the class 4 delivery van, was last known to be in the production verification stage.

Arrival isn’t the only startup trying to save (or raise) money. Electric truck manufacturer Rivian Automotive announced last week it was offering $1.5 billion in convertible senior notes due in 2030, the second time in a year it is doing so. According to the filing, Rivian intends to “allocate an amount equal to the net proceeds from the offering” to finance, refinance or invest in eligible green projects such as renewable energy, energy efficiency and pollution prevention/control.

While the push for new funds came earlier than some investors had anticipated, executives don’t seem to be worried about their cash reservoirs, as they released a statement saying “We believe our existing cash, cash equivalents and short-term investments (without giving effect to this offering or the use of proceeds thereof) will be sufficient to enable us to fund our operations and capital expenditures through 2025.”

 Swedish car manufacturer Polestar Automotive Holding is following a similar path to Rivian as it filed a prospectus this week that would let executives raise up to $1 billion. The company, which lost more than $300 million in Q2, said in the filing that it may issue a combination of equity share classes, preferred stock and warrants to raise capital. The proceeds of the fundraising will go towards “general corporate activities” such as working capital, research and development and investments.

Meanwhile, EV charging company ChargePoint Holdings has announced it has raised $232 million this quarter in two separate transactions.

The lead investor from the company’s April 2022 $300 million convertible note offering, along with other institutional investors, committed to purchasing $175 million of stock. Then, in a second deal, it secured another $57 million. Both transactions were through the company’s “at the market” program, which lets the company regularly sell shares at prevailing prices. ChargePoint’s CFO Rex Jackson said the funding will help the company work toward its goal of achieving adjusted EBITDA profitability by the end of next year.

“These raises and our recently announced $150M revolving credit facility are consistent with our announced capital strategy to bolster our balance sheet,” he said. “We have no further plans to access the ATM.”

ChargePoint and the lead investor of its 2022 convertibles offering also reworked that deal on several fronts:  The notes will now mature on April 1, 2028, a year later than agreed to before. In return for that time, ChargePoint’s interest rates have climbed by 3.5 percentage points and the notes’ conversion price has been roughly halved to $12 per share. ChargePoint shares (Ticker: CHPT) ended last week at $3.44.

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