By Sarah McBride and Deepa Seetharaman
SAN FRANCISCO/DETROIT Aug 15 Fisker Automotive,
the maker of the $100,000-plus Karma hybrid sports car, aims to
raise about $150 million in additional funds to tide the company
over un t il it can launch production of its second model, a key
investor said on Wednesday.
The company has already raised more than $1 billion in
private financing from venture backers and others since its
founding in 2007. But earlier this year, Fisker was denied
access to more than half of a $529-million government loan that
was the cornerstone of its business plan.
"We need money on our balance sheet" to fund operating
expenses, said Ray Lane, a Fisker director and a managing
partner at venture firm Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers. "And
we need money to fund the development of the next car."
Although it has raised more than $400 million in venture
funds in the past 12 months, Fisker needs at least another $150
million to reach breakeven and may go back to investors again in
2013 for more money, Lane said in an interview.
"We're raising some of that money now, and some later," he
said, declining to say how much the company would need in total.
Once Fisker breaks even, the company could pursue an initial
public offering or a sale to a strategic investor, which could
come in late 2013, Lane said.
Fisker originally had planned to replace its
government-backed loan with high-yield debt plus equity, but
shelved that plan in favor of simply raising more equity, Lane
Fisker spokesman Roger Ormisher declined to comment on the
company's financial plans.
In 2009, Fisker was among the few automakers to receive a
U.S. Department of Energy loan as part of a broader government
push to add U.S. jobs and promote green technology. Under a
different government effort, Fisker's battery supplier A123
Systems received a $249-million green-technology grant.
But both companies have struggled in recent months. Fisker
has faced a series of quality and financial setbacks involving
its flagship vehicle, the Karma plug-in hybrid, and delays in
the development of its second hybrid model, the Atlantic sedan.
The automaker, based in Anaheim, California, had planned to
build the Atlantic at a former General Motors Co plant in
Delaware, the home state of Vice President Joseph Biden. It had
counted on using money from the DOE loan to retool the plant and
get it ready for production in 2013.
In the meantime, Fisker has experienced a small number of
high-profile car fires, the most recent one last week in
Woodside, California. E a rlier this week, Fisker named its third
chief executive this year.
A123, which had run short of cash, said last week that it
planned to sell a controlling stake to Chinese auto parts maker
Wanxiang for $450 million.
Fisker has raised $1.01 billion from more than 100 venture
investors over the past five years, according to company
documents filed with the U.S. Securities and Exchange
After a rocky start and several delays, Fisker has delivered
2,000 Karmas, Lane said. He drives one, as do actor Leonardo
DiCaprio and singer Justin Bieber.