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这家车企及创始人被曝大规模欺诈行为

这家车企及创始人被曝大规模欺诈行为

David Z. Morris 2020年09月15日
以前已经有Nikola存在虚假陈述问题的相关报道,更有许多专家对该公司的激进表述表示过怀疑。

一份做空报告称,零排放汽车初创公司Nikola在介绍其技术和业务时使用了一系列欺诈性宣传和表述。该报告的指控包括:Nikola于2018年发布的标志性氢燃料电池卡车行驶视频纯属伪造,以及该公司在收购交易失败后对其电池开发工作进行了欺诈性宣传。

上述报告由正在做空Nikola股票的兴登堡研究公司(Hindenburg Research)发布。不过在此之前,已经有Nikola存在虚假陈述问题的相关报道,更有许多专家对该公司的激进表述表示过怀疑。

在兴登堡的报告中,有关Nikola One氢燃料电池半卡伪造行驶视频的指控最为令人震惊。2018年1月,Nikola公司发布了一段据称是Nikola One氢燃料电池依靠自身动力向前行驶的视频,而兴登堡称,视频中的卡车实际上只是从一条漫长的缓坡上滑下而已。该报告中还包括一项测试报告,证实视频中显示的路段能够让滑行车辆加速到高速公路上的行驶速度。此外,报告中还提供了Nikola公司前员工的短信内容,似乎也可以证实这一内容。

考虑到前述指控,Nikola公司在介绍这段视频时反复用到“运动中(in motion)”一词就颇为值得玩味了,因为从技术上说,即便视频中的卡车不是依靠自身动力行驶,也确实是在“运动中”。彭博社此前曾经报道称,Nikola汽车及其创始人特雷弗•米尔顿在2016年的一次活动中对Nikola One的功能进行了欺诈性宣传。

兴登堡报告的另一个主要指控是Nikola公司和米尔顿对该公司电动汽车专用新型电池的开发工作进行了虚假陈述。

2019年11月,米尔顿发表声明称,Nikola公司将很快发布“电池行业有史以来取得的最大进展”。而该声明似乎只是基于该公司对一家名为ZapGo公司的收购计划,等到当年12月,Nikola就已经退出了该项收购。在2020年3月提交的一份法律文件中,Nikola公司表示,ZapGo“有的只是有趣的研究,而缺少对其研究成果进行商业化的能力。”

虽然已经退出该笔交易,但Nikola公司并未修改其关于电动汽车电池技术即将取得革命性进步的宣传信息。在6月接受《财富》杂志采访,以及在其他场合进行公开发言时,米尔顿仍然承诺该公司即将发布这项技术。米尔顿声称,Nikola正致力于对其从科研人员那里获得许可的电池技术进行商业化,但拒绝透露相关科研人员的姓名。许多专家在评估这家公司的电池技术时对其激进的时间表表示了怀疑。

9月8日,Nikola公司宣布将在部分车型上使用通用汽车授权的电池技术,其中包括即将推出的Badger皮卡。两家公司的股票应声大幅上涨。但该声明也进一步引发了外界对Nikola公司电池技术的质疑。9月10日兴登堡发布的报告无疑又给两家公司的股票浇了一盆冷水,截至发稿,Nikola股价下跌近10%,通用汽车股价下跌近4%。

兴登堡报告还列举了Nikola公司与米尔顿的其他欺诈言行,包括米尔顿对其此前创办、出售企业经历的虚假介绍。

作为对兴登堡报告的回应,Nikola公司向《财富》杂志提供了一份简短声明:“Nikola公司已经通过全球可信度最高的企业和投资者的审查。我们正走在通往成功的道路上,不会因为一份充满误导信息、企图操纵我们股价的报告而产生动摇。”

然而,Nikola并未回答《财富》杂志就兴登堡报告具体内容提出的问题,比如2018年视频中的卡车是否是依靠自身动力行驶;截至2020年夏,Nikola的电池开发合作伙伴都有哪些等。米尔顿在推特上写道:“澄清诬陷要花些时间,但我将拿出详细报告进行回应。与此同时,我们还会继续前行。”

虽然股价下跌会使做空者从中获利,但近年来兴登堡研究公司已经凭借其对Smile Direct Club、SC Worx和Bloom Energy等多家公司虚假宣传、会计违规行为的深入调查,建立起了良好的声誉。其指控也多次被其他报告、监管机构或这些公司自身所证实。(财富中文网)

译者:梁宇

审校:西林

一份做空报告称,零排放汽车初创公司Nikola在介绍其技术和业务时使用了一系列欺诈性宣传和表述。该报告的指控包括:Nikola于2018年发布的标志性氢燃料电池卡车行驶视频纯属伪造,以及该公司在收购交易失败后对其电池开发工作进行了欺诈性宣传。

上述报告由正在做空Nikola股票的兴登堡研究公司(Hindenburg Research)发布。不过在此之前,已经有Nikola存在虚假陈述问题的相关报道,更有许多专家对该公司的激进表述表示过怀疑。

在兴登堡的报告中,有关Nikola One氢燃料电池半卡伪造行驶视频的指控最为令人震惊。2018年1月,Nikola公司发布了一段据称是Nikola One氢燃料电池依靠自身动力向前行驶的视频,而兴登堡称,视频中的卡车实际上只是从一条漫长的缓坡上滑下而已。该报告中还包括一项测试报告,证实视频中显示的路段能够让滑行车辆加速到高速公路上的行驶速度。此外,报告中还提供了Nikola公司前员工的短信内容,似乎也可以证实这一内容。

考虑到前述指控,Nikola公司在介绍这段视频时反复用到“运动中(in motion)”一词就颇为值得玩味了,因为从技术上说,即便视频中的卡车不是依靠自身动力行驶,也确实是在“运动中”。彭博社此前曾经报道称,Nikola汽车及其创始人特雷弗•米尔顿在2016年的一次活动中对Nikola One的功能进行了欺诈性宣传。

兴登堡报告的另一个主要指控是Nikola公司和米尔顿对该公司电动汽车专用新型电池的开发工作进行了虚假陈述。

2019年11月,米尔顿发表声明称,Nikola公司将很快发布“电池行业有史以来取得的最大进展”。而该声明似乎只是基于该公司对一家名为ZapGo公司的收购计划,等到当年12月,Nikola就已经退出了该项收购。在2020年3月提交的一份法律文件中,Nikola公司表示,ZapGo“有的只是有趣的研究,而缺少对其研究成果进行商业化的能力。”

虽然已经退出该笔交易,但Nikola公司并未修改其关于电动汽车电池技术即将取得革命性进步的宣传信息。在6月接受《财富》杂志采访,以及在其他场合进行公开发言时,米尔顿仍然承诺该公司即将发布这项技术。米尔顿声称,Nikola正致力于对其从科研人员那里获得许可的电池技术进行商业化,但拒绝透露相关科研人员的姓名。许多专家在评估这家公司的电池技术时对其激进的时间表表示了怀疑。

9月8日,Nikola公司宣布将在部分车型上使用通用汽车授权的电池技术,其中包括即将推出的Badger皮卡。两家公司的股票应声大幅上涨。但该声明也进一步引发了外界对Nikola公司电池技术的质疑。9月10日兴登堡发布的报告无疑又给两家公司的股票浇了一盆冷水,截至发稿,Nikola股价下跌近10%,通用汽车股价下跌近4%。

兴登堡报告还列举了Nikola公司与米尔顿的其他欺诈言行,包括米尔顿对其此前创办、出售企业经历的虚假介绍。

作为对兴登堡报告的回应,Nikola公司向《财富》杂志提供了一份简短声明:“Nikola公司已经通过全球可信度最高的企业和投资者的审查。我们正走在通往成功的道路上,不会因为一份充满误导信息、企图操纵我们股价的报告而产生动摇。”

然而,Nikola并未回答《财富》杂志就兴登堡报告具体内容提出的问题,比如2018年视频中的卡车是否是依靠自身动力行驶;截至2020年夏,Nikola的电池开发合作伙伴都有哪些等。米尔顿在推特上写道:“澄清诬陷要花些时间,但我将拿出详细报告进行回应。与此同时,我们还会继续前行。”

虽然股价下跌会使做空者从中获利,但近年来兴登堡研究公司已经凭借其对Smile Direct Club、SC Worx和Bloom Energy等多家公司虚假宣传、会计违规行为的深入调查,建立起了良好的声誉。其指控也多次被其他报告、监管机构或这些公司自身所证实。(财富中文网)

译者:梁宇

审校:西林

A new report claims that zero-emissions vehicle startup Nikola Motor has made a series of deceptive public statements and representations about its technology and business. Allegations include that Nikola staged a 2018 video of its signature hydrogen fuel-cell truck driving, and that it has made deceptive claims about its battery development efforts after the failure of an acquisition deal.

The allegations come from Hindenburg Research, which has a short position in Nikola stock. But they follow previous reports of misrepresentations by Nikola and broader expert skepticism about the company’s aggressive claims.

The Hindenburg report’s most striking claim is that a January 2018 video purportedly showing a Nikola One hydrogen fuel-cell semi truck moving under its own power was staged. According to Hindenburg, the video in fact showed the truck rolling down a long, gentle slope. Hindenburg’s report includes a test confirming that the section of road shown in the video could accelerate a coasting vehicle to highway speeds, along with text messages from a former Nikola employee appearing to confirm the tactics.

Given these claims, it is notable that Nikola repeatedly described the video as showing the truck “in motion,” which would be technically true even if the truck were not moving under its own power. Bloomberg had previously reported that Nikola and its founder, Trevor Milton, made deceptive claims about the capabilities of the Nikola One unit displayed at a 2016 event.

Another major claim made in the Hindenburg report is that Nikola and Milton have misrepresented the company’s efforts to develop a new kind of battery for use in electric vehicles.

In November 2019, Milton claimed that Nikola would soon unveil “the biggest advancement we have seen in the battery world.” Those claims appear to have been based on the planned acquisition of a company called ZapGo, but by December, Nikola had backed out of that acquisition. In a March 2020 legal filing, Nikola said ZapGo “had nothing more than interesting research with no ability to commercialize its research.”

Despite pulling out of the deal, Nikola did not revise its public messaging about an impending revolution in EV battery technology. In a June interview with Fortune and in other public statements, Milton continued to promise an imminent unveiling of the tech. Milton claimed that Nikola was working to commercialize battery technology it had licensed from academic researchers, while declining to name those researchers. Experts evaluating Nikola’s battery claims were skeptical of the company’s aggressive timeline.

Further questions about Nikola’s prior battery claims were raised by a September 8 announcement that Nikola would use battery technology licensed from General Motors in vehicles including its upcoming Badger pickup truck. That announcement caused both Nikola and GM stock to rise dramatically. On September 10, the Hindenburg report appears to be driving both stocks back down, with Nikola off nearly 10% at press time, and GM down nearly 4%.

The Hindenburg report also makes a variety of other claims about deception by Nikola and Trevor Milton, including alleged misrepresentations by Milton about prior companies he founded and sold.

Nikola sent Fortune a brief statement in response to Hindenburg's report: “Nikola has been vetted by some of the world’s most credible companies and investors. We are on a path to success and will not waver based on a report filled with misleading information attempting to manipulate our stock.”

Nikola did not address Fortune’s questions about Hindenburg’s specific claims, including questions about whether the truck shown in the 2018 video was moving under its own power, or who Nikola's battery development partners were by summer 2020. On Twitter, Milton wrote, "It will take the rest of the day to address the one sided false claims, but I will put out a detail report to address it. In the meantime, troll on."

Though its short position would allow it to benefit from negative stock moves, Hindenburg Research has built a strong reputation in recent years based on in-depth research into public misrepresentations and accounting irregularities at companies including Smile Direct Club, SC Worx, and Bloom Energy. Many of Hindenburg's claims about those and other companies were subsequently confirmed by other reporting, by regulators, or by the companies themselves.

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