The Korea Herald


Nikola-GM fallout spills over to Hanwha

By Kim Byung-wook

Published : Dec. 1, 2020 - 15:59

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Hanwha Solutions President Kim Dong-kwan (Hanwha) Hanwha Solutions President Kim Dong-kwan (Hanwha)
Nikola shares nose-dived 26.9 percent Monday after General Motors announced that it would revoke its initial plan to acquire an 11 percent stake once worth $2 billion in the electric truck startup.

Upon the news, attention in South Korea quickly shifted to Hanwha Solutions and its President Kim Dong-kwan, who decided in November 2018 to invest $100 million to acquire a 6.13 percent stake in Nikola. Nikola, which was touted as a promising partner for Hanwha’s renewable energy push, had become a sore spot upon several controversies surrounding the startup, including claims of fraud earlier this year.

Kim was said to have overseen Hanwha’s investment in Nikola, with Hanwha Energy and Hanwha General Chemical together investing $1 billion in the company. Kim and his two brothers together own 100 percent of Hanwha Energy, which in turn holds the biggest stake in Hanwha General Chemical, 39.1 percent.

The mandatory lock-up period for Hanwha to hold the Nikola stocks ends April 30.

Hanwha officials, meanwhile, denied the latest development was hurting its business direction.

“Hanwha invested in Nikola based on a long-term vision of creating a hydrogen ecosystem with Nikola, not for short-term gains. Also, as Hanwha’s main focus is on Nikola’s big hydrogen trucks, GM’s tumbled plan to take an equity in Nikola and build the company’s electric pickup truck Badger is irrelevant to Hanwha,” a Hanwha official said.

By Kim Byung-wook (