Following the example of General Motors, Bosch is now also taking a step back from Nikola, the US start-up company specialising in fuel cell and battery trucks. The German automotive supplier has reduced its stake in Nikola.
Bosch invested in Nikola last year, and most recently its share was 6.4 per cent. According to information from Bloomberg, the supplier based in Geislingen near Stuttgart has now reduced this share to 4.9 per cent. The development partnership between Bosch and Nikola that was concluded in 2017 will apparently remain in place.
The partial sale took place after a holding period for early investors had expired – meaning that Robert Bosch GmbH was unable to reduce its stake earlier. According to a Bosch spokesperson, this period expired on 30 November. “Our initial investment was primarily meant to support the development of hydrogen technology”, company spokesperson Tim Wieland told Bloomberg. “The reduction of some of our shares in Nikola took place after a holding period under stock-exchange regulation.”
The expiration of the selling restriction for Bosch and other early investors and especially the fact that some of these investors have sold part of their now tradable Nikola shares has further increased the pressure on the papers. After the strategic cooperation with General Motors announced in September only culminated in a very slimmed-down supply agreement. The US carmaker did not take a financial stake in Nikola, as the share price had already fallen. After it became known that Bosch had divested itself of part of its share package, the share price fell by another 1.7 per cent.
Since the originally planned cooperation with GM did not materialise, Nikola already cancelled the Badger electric pickup project. The current letter of intent stipulates that GM will supply fuel cells for Nikola’s planned trucks – but only if both parties can agree on the conditions and Nikola pays in advance. After a short seller attack many investors lost confidence in Nikola, and founder and CEO Trevor Milton had to leave his position.
So while GM will continue to supply the fuel cells for Nikola’s US trucks, Bosch is the partner for the European trucks to be built at the Iveco plant in Ulm. The vehicles based on the Iveco S-Way (the Iveco parent company CNH Industrial is also a Nikola partner) are to be offered with a battery-electric drive from 2021 and with fuel cells from 2023.