SEOUL, March 18 (Korea Bizwire) — Hanwha Group, a South Korean energy-to-defense conglomerate, plans to sell half of its stake in U.S. electric truck maker Nikola Corp., the two companies said Thursday.
Green Nikola Holdings, Hanwha’s U.S. subsidiary that holds a 5.65 percent share in Nikola, plans to sell up to 11.1 million shares over a six-month period from June, according to a U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission filing.
Hanwha’s stake in Nasdaq-listed Nikola is worth about US$180 million as of Wednesday’s closing price of $16.39 a share.
In 2018, two of Hanwha’s subsidiaries invested about $100 million in Nikola, and its petrochemical subsidiary, Hanwha General Chemical Co., plans to sell its stake to secure funds for hydrogen-related businesses, company officials said.
“The stake sale is aimed at securing funds needed for new eco-friendly projects, including hydrogen, and Hanwha will still remain Nikola’s strategic partner,” a Hanwha Group spokesperson said.
Hanwha Group is a conglomerate with a business portfolio ranging from solar energy to aerospace, and it has been exploring ways to expand its renewable energy business.
Nikola drew keen interest from investors as a promising firm developing hydrogen-powered trucks, but allegations of fraud spurred by a short-seller report has regulators looking into the electric truck startup.
Nikola’s shares, which were at $33.75 after its early June market debut, surged to a record high of $93.99 in just four days, but its share price dipped to $17.99 after the short-seller Hindenburg Research’s fraud accusation in September.