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Workhorse gets $200 million to advance electric van production (Update)

New money will allow production of refrigerated van for groceries

Workhorse Group is selling $200 million of new debt to advance its manufacturing capability. (Photo: Workhorse)

Editor’s Note: Updates with names of lenders and other details

Workhorse Group (NASDAQ: WKHS) is selling $200 million in new debt to build up cash it needs to increase production of its electric delivery vans. It is also converting a more expensive note to new stock.

Issuing new debt is a common tactic for Workhorse. Borrowing costs less now because investors had been betting Workhorse would win at least part of a $6.3 billion contract to build next-generation delivery vehicles for the U.S. Post Service. Its stock languished in the low single digits, trading as low as $2.11 a share on April 15.

The Postal Service was expected to announce the outcome of the bidding on Tuesday. It has delayed the announcement until after the Nov. 3 election.

Workhorse shares closed Monday at $26.58, down 0.71%.

Advancing early production

The Loveland, Ohio-based company is producing composite-body electric delivery vans at a plant in Union City, Indiana. The new money will allow the addition of a refrigerated van for grocery delivery, Workhorse CEO Duane Hughes said in a press release.

“These new vehicles within our portfolio of products, along with the expanding operations of our drone business, will help to further solidify our leadership and reach in the last-mile EV delivery segment,” he said.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency greenlighted Workhorse to sell the vans as zero-emission vehicles in all 50 states. The C-Series vans also are part of a California voucher program that allow buyers to significantly reduce the purchase cost.

Workhorse has a non-binding agreement with United Parcel Service (NYSE: UPS) to deliver 950 vans along with smaller contracts for other customers. 

Financial engineering

Like it has done several times in recent years, Workhorse is financially engineering its business. It will receive approximately $194.5 million from the sale of the new notes after paying $5.5 million in placement commissions to Goldman Sachs and BTIG LLC. The notes can be exchanged for company stock at $36.14 per share, a 35% premium over Friday’s closing price.

The money provides breathing room as Workhorse moves from producing 400 vans this year to several thousand in 2021.

The company did not respond to a FreightWaves’ question about its progress in securing a bank-backed credit revolver, which Chief Financial Officer Steve Schrader has said was the best way to pay for production ramp up. 

Workhorse is paying 4% annual interest in quarterly payments on the new senior secured convertible notes due in 2024. Hedge funds Antara Capital LP and HT Investments MA LLC are taking the notes for the cash, according to a Workhorse filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.

The interest rate could be reduced to 2.75% under certain conditions. Workhorse can pay the interest in cash or stock.

Converting debt to stock

Additionally, Workhorse is swapping shares for $70 million in debt arranged in two senior debt note sales to HT Investments, in December 2019 and June this year. HT Capital gets approximately 5 million shares priced at $7 in December $19 each in June. HT’s profit is about $50 million on the shares based on Tuesday’s closing price.

“With this financing in place, we can more quickly advance our production efforts heading into 2021 by increasing our supply chain component volumes, hiring more manufacturing employees and automating certain sub-assembly processes,” Hughes said.

Workhorse will have more than $270 million in cash available after the closing and release of the proceeds.

$70 million financing keeps Workhorse shares humming

Workhorse gets jolt for zero-emissions electric vans

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Click for more FreightWaves articles by Alan Adler

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  1. Michael

    Hello, do you have documentation about the USPS decision not happening until after the election? All I’ve seen is sometime before EOY but after election is very specific. Thanks.

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Alan Adler

Alan Adler is an award-winning journalist who worked for The Associated Press and the Detroit Free Press. He also spent two decades in domestic and international media relations and executive communications with General Motors.