Lordstown’s losses widen amid short-seller dispute, company discloses SEC probe

Lordstown Motors Inc. reported a wider quarterly loss late Wednesday, reiterating its goal of making its first electric pickups by late September despite an ongoing spat with a short seller.

Lordstown stock

fell nearly 2% in the extended session immediately after the quarterly results.

Losses intensified after the company disclosed a probe by securities regulators. The stock was down more than 4% at last check.

In a call with analysts after results, the company said it had received a request for information from the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, and that it is cooperating with regulators.

The company also said that its board has formed a committee to “review these matters.” It declined to elaborate further and said it would not comment “until the special committee has finished its review.”

The Ohio-based electric-truck maker reported a net loss of $38.2 million, or 23 cents a share, in the fourth quarter, compared with a net loss of $7.1 million, or 10 cents a share, in the year-ago quarter.

Analysts polled by FactSet expected the company to report a GAAP loss of 10 cents a share. Lordstown has no revenue.

Short seller Hindenburg Research last week issued a scathing report on Lordstown, calling it a “mirage” and accusing the company of inflating demand and production capabilities.

The short-seller’s report also cited one unnamed former employee allegedly saying that delays and design modifications are putting the vehicles Lordstown has promised to produce by September at least three to four years away from production.

Lordstown said Wednesday it remained “on track” to start production in September, with the first prototypes ready by the end of March. The company also said that demand for its electric truck remains “robust.”

A demo of a second vehicle, a van, is expected to be revealed this summer, Lordstown said.

The company guided for 2021 capital expenditures between $250 million and $275 million. It called for expected operating expenses of between $40 million and $45 million in selling and administrative costs, and between $180 million and $190 million in research and development costs.

Lordstown said it expects year-end 2021 liquidity of at least $200 million in cash and cash equivalents.

The company said in a filing Monday it would refute Hinderburg Research’s allegations on Wednesday, but it has not done so yet.

The stock has lost about 21% in the past three months, compared with gains around 7% for the S&P 500 index

in the same period.

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