Amazon-backed electric vehicle maker Rivian eyes up to $53bn listing valuation

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Rivian, the electric automotive company backed by Amazon, is targeting a valuation as high as $53bn when it makes its debut on the Nasdaq, potentially as soon as next week.

At the top end of its range of $57 to $62 a share, Rivian would begin trading at a value higher than the likes of Kia and Nissan, and would raise just less than $8.4bn from the offering.

It comes despite the company suffering growing losses — almost $1bn in the first half of this year — as it builds out its capabilities to mass-produce its range of electric vans and trucks.

Investors including Blackstone, T Rowe Price and Daniel Loeb’s Third Point have indicated interest in purchasing up to $5bn of Rivian’s stock at the offering price, according to an updated prospectus published on Monday.

Amazon ranked as Rivian’s largest outside shareholder, with a 22.4 per cent stake. The ecommerce group has indicated interest in purchasing $200m in additional shares during the IPO, the prospectus said.

The market debut would also result in a windfall for founder RJ Scaringe, who owns more than 17.6m shares that would be worth a total of $1.1bn at the top of the price range.

Investors will be hoping Rivian can position itself as a Tesla-like player for heavy-duty commercial vehicles, a prospect backed up by Amazon’s order of 100,000 custom-built delivery vans for its logistics network.

The vans are due to be delivered by 2025, with a limited number already on the roads being tested in several US states. The vans are the cornerstone of Amazon’s efforts to reduce its carbon footprint, having pledged to be net zero carbon by 2040.

However, in its risk factors, Rivian notes that since a “significant portion” of its initial revenue will be derived from its Amazon deal, any disruption to that relationship would leave it “materially and adversely affected”.

In addition, the filing outlined that Amazon had been granted “certain exclusivity” and “first refusal” rights as part of its investment, limiting Rivian’s ability to do business with other logistics operators also looking to go electric.

Outside of its Amazon deal, the company noted only “minimal revenue” to date from sales of its R1T pick-up truck following its launch in September, and “no revenue” from sales of any other vehicles.

However, it said it had received more than 50,000 pre-orders for the R1T and R1S, an SUV, as of the end of last month. By the end of this year, according to Monday’s filing, the company said it had hoped to have delivered 1,000 R1Ts and 15 RISs to customers.

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