Workhorse Group fell short in its first try at getting shareholders to more than double the number of authorized shares in the electric step van manufacturer.
The Cincinnati-based company will count proxies again on Friday. It hopes for approval that would to sell up to 250,000 new shares of stock to raise capital. The move would dilute the value of shares held by current investors as new shares are registered.
Workhorse has endured a difficult existence, running short on money several times. It had just $62.4 million in cash at the end of the second quarter.
Current leadership has revamped the product lineup, cleared debt from the balance sheet and updated its assembly plant in Union City, Indiana. Workhorse is selling a Class 4 cab chassis and step van version of a GreenPower Motors product as a stopgap.
As of Monday, 49.68% of all Workhorse shares were voted in favor. It needs needs 50% plus one vote to pass. The company said 85% of all voted shares supported the proposal. A proxy solicitation firm is rounding up votes because so many of its shareholders are individuals rather than institutions.
“We have been extensively engaging with our stockholders over the past few weeks and appreciate the input and support,” Workhorse said in a statement.
Workhorse issues a warning
However, the company also issued a warning: “If the proposal ultimately does not go through, it will limit our financing options to the detriment of our stockholders.”
Separately, shareholders of Lightning eMotors, overwhelmingly approved a proposal to sell a block of shares equal to about 20% of the company to hedge fund Yorkville Advisors.
Raising capital through new shares is popular for cash-strapped companies unable to tap still-tight credit markets. Nikola Corp. shareholders voted Aug. 3 to double the number of its authorized shares to 1.6 billion. It had twice adjourned its annual meeting because the proposal lacked sufficient votes to pass.
Nikola ultimately achieved its goal because the state of Delaware, lowered the threshold for passage of share increase measures to a majority of votes on the proposal rather than the higher bar Workhorse is trying to clear. Nikola is incorporated in Delaware.
Workhorse shares (NASDAQ: WKHS) closed Monday at 78 cents.
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