Earlier this month, a short-selling firm called Hindenburg Research released a devastating report about Lordstown Motors, accusing them of faking orders and exaggerating its progress on production. A few days after that, Lordstown acknowledged the SEC’s interest, but according to a new filing from the company the SEC was interested well before the Hindenburg report.
The Securities and Exchange Commission actually contacted Lordstown on February 17, according to the filing, or well before the Hindenburg Research report, which was published on March 12. The SEC was apparently interested in some of the same questions as Hindenburg.
From Lordstown’s filing today:
On February 17, 2021, the Company received a request from the SEC for the voluntary production of documents and information, including relating to the merger between DiamondPeak and Legacy Lordstown and pre-orders of vehicles. The Company is responding to the SEC’s requests and intends to cooperate with its inquiry.
The merger is the deal that enabled Lordstown Motors to be publicly traded, which it became last fall. Its stock price eventually peaked at just under $31 a share, before a steady decline began last month and continued after the Hindenburg report. Lordstown’s stock is currently trading at $12.27 per share.
And while it was initially assumed by most observers that it might have been the Hindenburg report that prompted the SEC to start asking some questions, the new disclosure makes clear that the SEC had already been at it for some time.
Also included in Lordstown’s report today was a long list of risks. Here’s one of them:
If we fail to scale our business operations or otherwise manage future growth effectively as we attempt to rapidly grow our company, we may not be able to produce, market, service and sell or lease our vehicles successfully.
Any failure to manage our growth effectively could materially and adversely affect our business, prospects, operating results or financial condition. We plan to commence limited commercial production of the Endurance at the Lordstown Complex in September 2021 and are targeting significant growth thereafter. We also intend to leverage our technologies to develop additional all-electric vehicles geared for the commercial market that will require us to commit additional resources and management attention. Our future operating results depend to a large extent on our ability to manage our expansion and growth successfully. However, we have no experience to date in high volume manufacturing of our vehicles. We cannot assure that we will be able to develop efficient, automated, low-cost manufacturing capabilities and processes, and reliable sources of component supply, that will enable us to meet the quality, price, engineering, design and production standards, as well as the production volumes, required to successfully market our vehicles. Any failure to develop such manufacturing processes and capabilities within our projected costs and timelines could stunt our future growth and impair our ability to produce, market, service and sell or lease our vehicles successfully.
At least this September is guaranteed to be interesting.