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    Fisker tumbles 34% on warning; CEO hopes to close financing deal with OEM ‘as soon as possible’

    Fisker (FSR) unloaded a cache of bad news during its Q4 earnings report yesterday, shaking investors and Wall Street analysts.

    Fisker reported that given its financial condition, evolving dealership sales approach, and challenging EV market, it has “substantial doubt about its ability to continue as a going concern” when the company files its official financial statements for 2023. Fisker also said it would reduce its headcount by 15%.

    Fisker said it had $396 million in cash at the end of Q4, though $70 million of that is restricted. Fisker said it is in talks with a current note-holder about making an additional investment in the company and that it’s negotiating with “a large automaker for a potential transaction which could include an investment in Fisker, joint development of one or more electric vehicle platforms, and North America manufacturing.”

    Reuters reported on Friday afternoon that Fisker was in preliminary talks with Nissan for a $400 million cash injection, with Nissan getting access to Fisker’s upcoming truck platform.

    The Fisker Ocean, the new all-electric SUV from the American automaker, is exhibited in Barcelona, on March 3, 2022, in Barcelona, Spain. (Joan Cros/NurPhoto via Getty Images) (NurPhoto via Getty Images)

    In an interview with Yahoo Finance, Fisker CEO and chairman Henrik Fisker said talks were advanced with an automaker, though he wouldn’t confirm or deny that it was Nissan.

    “What we have said is we are [in] negotiation with an OEM [original equipment manufacturers] for development of electric vehicles and US manufacturing as well as an investment,” Fisker said. “We started talking to several OEMs I think over six months ago, so we obviously have a lot done a lot of work already, so I hope this deal will close as soon as possible that we are working on.”

    While talks of a cash infusion and strategic partnership with an established automaker are welcome news, it wasn’t enough to end doubts about Fisker’s precarious condition. Shares of the EV maker tumbled nearly 34% on Friday, with shares now stuck below $1 since early January.

    Fisker is optimistic about the future, despite concerns about a cash crunch and share price that isn’t in compliance with NYSE rules, since it is trading below $1.

    “I would say [despite] the general EV slump that is still out there, we still see a huge amount of interest in our vehicles. The EV market has been tough in the last couple of months, but, I think with our pivot to this, to the dealer model, we are actually going to accelerate our sales more than we have,” Fisker said. “We did have a 250% sales growth from Q3 to Q4, with the forecast we are doing right now, we are continuing to see a sales growth despite the EV slump.”

    Wall Street reacts to Fisker’s outlook

    Fisker CEO Henrik Fisker introduces the all-electric off-road Ocean called the Force E during its inaugural

    Fisker CEO Henrik Fisker introduces the all-electric off-road Ocean called the Force E during its inaugural “Product Vision Day” in Huntington Beach, Calif., on Aug. 3, 2023. (FREDERIC J. BROWN/AFP via Getty Images) (FREDERIC J. BROWN via Getty Images)

    Citi analyst Itay Michaeli generally feels Fisker’s lone product, the Ocean EV, holds promise and isn’t surprised that a large automaker is interested in investing in Fisker, but this isn’t enough for him to keep the faith in Fisker.

    “Securing such an agreement would likely serve as a major positive for Fisker, but it’s hard to underpin an investment thesis entirely on this, and we would’ve liked to have seen more progress on this front by now,” Michaeli wrote in a note to investors. Michaeli downgraded the stock to Neutral/High Risk (equivalent of a Hold) and cut his price target to $.80 from $4.

    In Q4, Fisker reported revenue of $200.1 million, missing Bloomberg consensus estimates for $272.9 million and a net loss of $463.6 million, much wider than the $82.7 million loss expected.

    Fisker’s challenges in setting up its direct-to-consumer model led the company to seek out traditional dealer partnerships, with the company revealing it now has 12 dealer partners on hand and over 250 dealers interested.

    While talk of new partnerships and a dealer sales network is promising, the main concern for investors is Fisker’s lack of cash.

    “If the company had ample liquidity through 2025, then risk/reward would arguably be interesting here with the stock having come under significant pressure,” Michaeli wrote. “But with the liquidity runway narrowing and accounting/reporting issues still unresolved, it’s hard to make an investment case here with such poor [near-term] visibility.”

    Pras Subramanian is a reporter for Yahoo Finance. You can follow him on Twitter and on Instagram.

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