Shares of EV start-up Nikola surge on earnings beat, plans to generate revenue in 2022

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San Pedro, CA – December 17: The first two zero-emissions electric trucks, from an order of 100 vehicles, delivered from the Nikola Corporation to Total Transportation Services at the Port of Los Angeles in San Pedro on Friday, December 17, 2021.
Brittany Murray | MediaNews Group | Getty Images

Shares of Nikola Corp. surged Thursday by as much as 14% after the embattled electric vehicle start-up reported a narrower-than-expected loss during the fourth quarter and confirmed plans for truck production and revenue generation in 2022.

The pre-revenue company, which recently settled a federal probe into misleading investors, reported an operating loss of $90.4 million, or 23 cents per share. That compared with Wall Street’s expectations of a loss of 32 cents per share, according to analysts compiled by Refinitiv.

Shares of Nikola leveled off during midday trading to $7.44 a share, up by about 9%. That’s 16% higher than its intraday low of $6.41 a share, which marked a new 52-week low for the stock.

Nikola said it expects to generate revenue of between $90 million and $150 million in 2022 on deliveries of between 300 and 500 of its first battery-electric semitrucks, known as the Nikola Tre, to customers.

Non-prototype production of the trucks at its plant in Coolidge, Ariz. is expected to begin on March 21, according to CEO Mark Russell. The company delivered its first non-saleable prototype models to customers and dealers in the fourth quarter of last year.

Nikola said it built 30 prototypes during the fourth quarter in Arizona, but only five were commissioned due to supply chain delays. It delivered another six trucks so far this year, the company said.

Nikola’s stock led to a broader increase Thursday of electric vehicle stocks following a significant spike in oil prices due to the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

On a day when oil is over $100 a barrel, “we got more detail on a potential key player in new Clean Energy Transportation,” Evercore ISI analyst Chris McNally said in an investor note Thursday.

McNally said Nikola largely beat Wall Street’s expectations regarding fourth-quarter results and guidance, but long-term funding remains “the key question.”

The company had a cash balance of $522 million to end 2021. It expects to spend between $295 million and $305 million in 2022.

– CNBC’s Michael Bloom contributed to this report.

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