Hanwha Group has secured a “bridgehead” to enter the US hydrogen market with the successful listing of hydrogen car maker Nikola Motor on NASDAQ, in which it was an investor, the South Korean conglomerate said Tuesday.
Nikola listed on the US stock exchange on June 4 and closed its debut valued at US$12 billion.
Hanwha had acquired a 6.13 percent stake in the Phoenix-based Nikola Motor for US$100 million through subsidiaries Hanwha Energy and Hanwha General Chemical in November 2018. The stakes are now valued at over US$750 million after the IPO.
Nikola first came into Hanwha’s attention when the Korean company’s venture capital unit in the US reported the need to invest in the promising start-up.
Hanwha affiliates discussed the matter and decided that Hanwha Energy, which was looking to expand its new energy operation in the US, and Hanwha General Chemical, which was looking for new environment-friendly businesses abroad, will co-invest in the US car maker.
Hanwha Energy has priority in supplying solar power for Nikola’s hydrogen charging stations and Hanwha General has the right to operate these stations, Hanwha said.
Kim Dong-kwan, the eldest son of Hanwha Chairman Kim Seung-youn and the vice president of Hanwha Solution, also played a decisive role in the deal. Kim met with Trevor Milton, the founder of Nikola, and reportedly shared in his vision for a zero-emission future.
Nikola was founded in 2015 and has Bosch and CNH Industrial as investors. It is developing a FCEV (fuel-cell electric vehicle) truck that can travel 1,200 miles with one charge and a BEV (battery electric vehicle) truck aimed for Europe.
It has received pre-orders for over 14,000 trucks valued at over US$10 billion, Nikola has said previously.