Friday, September 30, 2022
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EV maker Rivian’s net loss widens

Rivian Automotive Inc. reported revenue tallied $364 million in the second quarter while the EV maker’s net loss widened to $1.71 billion, from $580 million a year earlier.

The startup, headquartered in Irvine, Calif., said it’s received 98,000 pre-orders for the R1T pickup and R1S SUV. Rivian also has an initial order for 100,000 EDV electric delivery vans from Amazon, which received the first batch of the trucks last month.

But Rivian warned that it now expects to post a wider annual adjusted loss before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization of $5.45 billion, compared with $4.75 billion previously.

Rivian faced scrutiny over operating costs, capital expenditures and cash burn going into its second-quarter earnings after the market close Thursday, as the EV maker boosts production at its Illinois factory and plans for a second plant, in Georgia.

Rivian increased vehicle deliveries in the second quarter to 4,467, from 1,227 in the first quarter, and assembled 4,401 vehicles last quarter compared with 2,553 in the January-March period. The automaker said it has been building mostly R1T pickups but recently announced the summertime launch for customer deliveries of the R1S.

Rivian reiterated its production forecast of 25,000 vehicles this year and has been implementing cost-cutting measures to realign spending priorities. The company’s Illinois plant has capacity to build 150,000 vehicles a year.

Last month, Rivan announced a 6 percent reduction in its work force, which was at about 14,000 before the announcement. Rivian said it wants to optimize spending on increasing output and developing the R2 platform for the Georgia plant.

Market analysts have been recently focused on how much money Rivian is burning through because of its relatively limited deliveries and rising costs due to current and future expansion plans.

“Rising sales of battery-powered vehicles amid heightening climate concerns are expected to buoy Rivian’s second-quarter 2022 results,” Zacks Equity Research said in a note prior to the release of the company’s latest earnings results on Thursday. “On the flip side, Rivian — being in the nascent stage of development — has been burning cash.”

Rivian’s operating expenses in the first quarter totaled about $1.1 billion, up from $410 million in the year-earlier period, Zacks said.

“Massive operating costs in the second quarter, stemming from advanced product development activities, are likely to have dented margins,” Zacks said. “Also, high [capital expenditures] to support additional manufacturing capacity and infrastructure is likely to have clipped cash flows.”

Earlier this week, Bloomberg Intelligence noted Rivian’s rising production on better management of supply chain constraints. But it also highlighted the automaker’s huge cash needs. Rivian faces competition in the EV pickup market from Ford, Tesla and General Motors.

“Though the company has a high cash balance, it may need more liquidity in 2025, earlier than it plans, as competition from Ford, Tesla and GM speeds up,” Bloomberg Intelligence said. “Rivian may burn around $19 billion in cash through 2024 as it expands operations, while shareholders Amazon and Ford don’t appear to be capital sources.”

Both Amazon and Ford Motor Co. have reported billions of dollars in paper losses on their Rivian investments this year.

Ford launched the F-150 Lightning electric pickup in the spring, after Rivian’s started production in fall 2021. Tesla plans to launch the Cybertruck in mid-2023, and Chevrolet has said production of the Silverado EV will start in spring 2023.

The company’s latest quarterly revenue tally — $364 million — beat estimates; analysts expected $337.5 million, according to IBES data from Refinitiv.

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