Russian tycoon behind UK electric van start-up Arrival sees wealth soar by $10bn

The company listed on the Nasdaq in New York in a deal valued at $13bn

Workers build a fully-electric test van at electric van and bus maker Arrival, which has seen a spike in interest due to soaring e-commerce amid the pandemic and looming fossil-fuel vehicle bans. Reuters
Workers build a fully-electric test van at electric van and bus maker Arrival, which has seen a spike in interest due to soaring e-commerce amid the pandemic and looming fossil-fuel vehicle bans. Reuters

The Russian founder of British electric van and bus start-up Arrival saw his wealth soar by almost $10 billion after his company listed in New York on Thursday.

Arrival became the largest-ever UK company listing ever when it went public on the Nasdaq through a special purpose acquisition company (SPAC) merger with CIIC Merger, valuing the business at more than $13bn.

The deal, which raised around $660m, secured Arrival's founder and chief executive, Denis Sverdlov, $9.8bn, with the Russian owning 76 per cent of the stock in the new public company.

"Going public is an opportunity that will allow us to continue to scale globally, bringing these products to more and more cities and people," said Mr Sverdlow, a telecoms mogul and former Russian minister.

The company, which is based in Banbury in Oxfordshire, was founded by Mr Sverdlov in 2015.

It plans to develop electric vehicles using its own parts, components and technologies. The move may allow the company to adapt quickly to any change in demand, reduce costs and boost margins.

Its electric van will begin public-road trials with certain customers this summer, with full production expected to kick off in the third quarter of 2022, Arrival said earlier this month. Meanwhile, the company’s bus will undergo a trial run with one of Britain’s largest transport operators in the autumn.

Arrival became the largest-ever UK company listing ever when it went public on the Nasdaq on Thursday. Reuters
Arrival became the largest-ever UK company listing ever when it went public on the Nasdaq on Thursday. Reuters

Earlier this week, Arrival said it will build a new plant in North Carolina and much of its production will go to fulfilling an order from package delivery company UPS for up to 10,000 vehicles.

Arrival's "microfactory" in Charlotte will be the start-up's second US plant and is due to launch production in the third quarter of 2022. Last October, Arrival announced plans for a plant in South Carolina. It also has a plant in England.

Feverish investor interest in finding the next Tesla and bringing them to market via SPACs has also included commercial electric vehicle start-up Canoo.

Tightening CO2 emissions targets in Europe and China have combined with improving battery technology to provide greater range at lower costs, giving commercial electric vehicles (EVs) their moment in the sun after years of waiting.

The coronavirus pandemic has also boosted the need for vans to deliver goods to consumers at home.

Ford Motor said earlier this week that the next version of its Transit van for the European market will go into production in Turkey in 2023, and include fully electric and hybrid variants along with the combustion-engine version.

Published: March 26, 2021 06:49 PM

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