EV start-up Lordstown Motors' shares hit 52-week low following brief annual shareholder meeting

Key Points
  • Lordstown Motors' stock dropped below $5 a share for the first time ever, hitting a new 52-week low Thursday.
  • The sharp stock move came after company executives wrapped up its annual shareholder meeting after about 10 minutes.
  • Lordstown Chairwoman Angela Strand confirmed the company's plans for limited production of its Endurance EV pickup truck beginning next month. But provided no new information.
The Lordstown Motors Corp. Endurance electric pickup truck sits on stage during an unveiling event in Lordstown, Ohio, U.S., on Thursday, June 25, 2020.
Matthew Hatcher | Bloomberg | Getty Images

Lordstown Motors' stock hit a new 52-week low Thursday, dropping below $5 a share for the first time ever, following an annual shareholder meeting that lasted about 10 minutes.

Shares of the embattled electric vehicle start-up were down by as much as 5.5% immediately following the noon meeting, before closing at a new low of $4.77 a share, down 9.5%. The stock has plummeted about 75% in 2021.

The official meeting lasted about five minutes, followed by two minutes of silence before Lordstown Chairwoman Angela Strand reiterated many of the company's previously announced plans. Most importantly, she confirmed limited production of its Endurance EV pickup truck is scheduled to begin next month, followed by vehicle validation and regulatory approval in December or January. She did not provide any new information.

Two resolutions – the appointments of KPMG as an independent accounting firm and two board directors – passed. Voting results were not immediately available.

Shareholders were allowed to submit questions online, but they had to relate to the resolutions. Strand said no questions were submitted. But questions definitely remain about the company, which in June said there was "substantial doubt" about its ability to continue as a going concern in the next year.

Lordstown Motors plunges on report that DOJ is probing the company
Lordstown Motors plunges on report that DOJ is probing the company

The new low for the shares comes about a month after Lordstown confirmed a Justice Department probe. Federal prosecutors are looking at the company's SPAC deal that brought the company public last year as well as its reporting of preorders, the company has confirmed. The Securities and Exchange Commission has its own inquiry into the company and some comments made by executives, including former Chairman and CEO Steve Burns.

Burns and his CFO left the SPAC-backed company after an internal investigation found "issues regarding the accuracy of certain statements" around Lordstown's preorders, specifically the seriousness of the orders and who was making them.

In May, short seller Hindenburg Research claimed the company misled investors, including using "fake" orders to raise capital for its Endurance electric pickup. The short seller also said the pickup was years away from production. Lordstown has maintained it's on track to start making the vehicle in September.

Workers install door hinges to the body shell of a prototype Endurance electric pickup truck on June 21, 2021 at Lordstown Motors assembly plant in Ohio.
Michael Wayland | CNBC

Lordstown previously said the internal investigation found Hindenburg's report "is, in significant respects, false and misleading."

Lordstown went public through a special purpose acquisition company, or SPAC, in October. It is among a growing group of EV start-ups to go public or announce plans to do so with SPACs.

Most of the SPAC deals were initially celebrated by investors, sending shares through the roof and making some founders millionaires, if not billionaires, overnight. But the tides have turned against many of the companies after crackdowns this year by the SEC, including investigations, warnings to investors and potential changes to accounting guidelines.