Fisker's cash tied up in bank guarantees, short-seller report says

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(Reuters) - Short-seller Fuzzy Panda Research said on Thursday that Fisker Inc's access to its funds is limited by bank guarantees that set a mininum cash balance, sending the electric-vehicle maker's shares down 5%.

In a report disclosing an unspecified short position, Fuzzy Panda Research said nearly all of the $825 million Fisker has in cash "is tied up" in guarantees to its manufacturing partner Magna Steyr, the Austrian unit of Magna International Inc.

The guarantees include Fisker paying for Magna's tooling costs as well as manufacturing margins and direct manufacturing costs, the short seller said, citing interviews with former employees.

Fisker denied the allegations when contacted by Reuters, while Magna did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The EV maker is the latest target of Fuzzy Panda Research, which has previously issued reports on EVgo Inc, Workhorse Group Inc and now bankrupt Electric Last Mile Solutions.

The short-seller also said that Fisker has been selling shares to raise cash and pay expenses instead of funding operating losses using its cash balance.

"We think Fisker's asset-light business model could be better described as liability-heavy," it said.

Fisker, which went public in 2020 through a blank-check merger that valued it at $2.9 billion, started manufacturing its Ocean SUV at Magna Steyr last month.

Fisker's shares have lost about half their market value this year amid a wider market selloff and as investor sentiment sours towards loss-making electric-vehicle startups.

(Reporting by Akash Sriram in Bengaluru; Editing by Shailesh Kuber)


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