October 1, 2010 / 2:48 PM / 9 years ago

Fisker says IPO possible with Karma deliveries in March

PARIS (Reuters) - Fisker Automotive has begun to put the pieces in place for an eventual IPO and expects to begin delivering its plug-in hybrid Karma luxury sport coupes to customers in March, Chief Executive Henrik Fisker told Reuters.

“We have to launch the Karma first, that is clear,” Fisker said in an interview at the Paris Auto Show on Friday.

“You have to get the revenue and launch the Karma, but we already are making sure our company is prepared for this possibility of an IPO.”

Fisker added Kamel Maamria, head of general investments at Qatar Holdings, to its board on Tuesday. Qatar Holdings, the investment arm of the Gulf emirate’s sovereign wealth fund, has been a significant investor in the automaker since 2008.

Former Mercedes executive Hans-Joachim Schopf and Barry Huff, a former adviser to General Motors GM.UL, joined the board on September 21.

“Our whole company is set up so we will be ready when the time is right,” Fisker said. “Everything has to fit together.”

An eventual Fisker IPO would follow that of rival electric carmaker Tesla Motors (TSLA.O), which completed its IPO in June. Tesla, known for its $109,000 Roadster, is in the pre-production and planning stages for a second vehicle, the Model S sedan.

Fisker introduced a production version of the Karma at the Paris show. The Karma will be priced at close to $100,000. Fisker is also in the planning stages for a second vehicle, code-named Project Nina, that will be far less expensive.

Fisker plans three models each for the Karma and Nina lines.

A123 Systems AONE.O is the battery supplier on the Karma project.

Production of the Project Nina car is scheduled to begin in the second quarter of 2012 at a former GM plant in Delaware that Fisker acquired this year.

Fisker has close to $1 billion of funding, including a $529 million U.S. Department of Energy loan to support the Project Nina development and part of the Karma program.

The first Project Nina test vehicles are expected to be built at the plant in September 2011, Fisker Chief Operating Officer Bernhard Koehler said.

Fisker has no plans to show the Project Nina car until “sometime in 2012” shortly before production begins, Fisker said. The design has been signed off on, but a lot of production engineering must still be completed, he said.

Reporting by David Bailey; Editing by Michael Shields

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