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Lucid Motors started trading on Monday Wall Street after completing its SPAC merger. Under the ticker symbol LCID, the stock jumped about 10% to more than $26.
When the merger with Churchill Capital Corp IV — a special purpose acquisition firm founded by senior investment banker Michael Klein — was announced in February, the blank-check company's stock dropped by nearly half.
The acquisition rewarded current firm owners $11.75 billion in stock. It also provided more than $4 billion in cash for Lucid's development ambitions, which include the current facility in Arizona.
Lucid CEO Peter Rawlinson said Monday on "Squawk Box" that the fundraising puts the company "in a very enviable position" compared to Tesla, which raised around $226 million in its initial public offering in 2010. The transaction, according to the ex-Tesla engineering chief, ensures Lucid's financial runway through the end of 2022.
"We have a very prestigious roster of blue-chip institutional investors," Rawlinson added, "but we've also drawn a lot of interest from the retail sector." "The fact that we've maintained that position is a credit to the attraction of our product and technology."
The reverse merger was approved in an extended vote by over 99% of company shareholders, Klein said in a conference call Thursday.
The deal, that valued Lucid at an initial pro forma valuation of $24 billion, was the largest among similar transactions involving EV companies and blank-check firms. Previous SPAC deals with EV start-ups such as Nikola, Fisker and Lordstown Motors earned valuations of less than $4 billion.
Lucid has some difficulty attracting capital until September 2018. That's when Saudi Arabia's sovereign wealth jumped in with funding. With an ownership stake of more than 60% in Lucid, the kingdom's Public Investment Fund stands to make a nearly $20 billion profit on an investment of $2.9 billion, according to The Wall Street.
California-based Lucid expected to deliver its new electric vehicle, the Lucid Air, in the second half of this year after delays largely due to the Covid pandemic. Rawlinson previously told CNBC he expects the Air to pave the way for a lineup of future all-electric vehicles, including an SUV, starting production in early 2023, and more affordable vehicles down the line.
The company announced on Monday it has 11,000 paid reservations for Lucid Air models.
"We're accelerating our factory to accommodate increased volume. We've just started grading the site for a 2.7 million square foot expansion," Rawlinson said, adding that the merger enables "strategic, judicial growth to expand our manufacturing capability and to mitigate risk as a company."
Like Tesla opens up its charging network to other brands, Rawlinson said it would be a "good solution" for different EVs to work on each other's networks.
While the company is launching its Dream model at $169,000, Rawlinson said it hopes to make its other Air models more affordable in the near future. The Air starts at $69,000 after the federal tax credit.
Rawlinson, who joined Lucid as chief technology officer in 2013 and then CEO three years later, believes that "product defines brands, not the other way around." "We need to make this shift to sustainable mobility, and our superior technology can help us do that."