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B.C.-based EV-bus maker Vicinity Motors hires president, plans growth

Company generated US$19.1M in 2023 sales, claims US$125M backlog
John Choo, sales manager for Vicinty Motors in Aldergrove, stands next to one of his company's electric trucks

Ambitious Aldergrove-based Vicinity Motor Corp. (Nasdaq:VEV; TSX-V:VMC) today announced that it has hired a new president, Brent Phillips, and has plans to increase production at its new Ferndale, Washington production facility.

The 16-year-old company employs 62 workers and spent US$20 million in capital costs to build out that new site, which opened in August and had its first vehicles ready to distribute a month later, according to an investor presentation.

Vicinity touts a US$125-million backlog and says that its production plant’s capacity is 1,000 buses per year, at full scale, or 6,250 electric trucks.

Corporate sales so far are a shadow of that.

The company’s fourth quarter earnings report, released earlier this month, noted that it sold 11 electric buses in the period that ended Dec. 31, helping quarterly revenue hit US$5.1 million.

In the full year, the company generated US$19.05 million in revenue, up from US$18.475 million in 2022, according to its earnings report.

Its production in 2023 was 22 buses and 66 trucks, the company told BIV in an email. No one was available for an interview.

Vicinity’s net loss in 2023 improved to US$16.633 million, down from a US$17.746 million net loss the year before.

The company said it invoiced 71 electric trucks to dealers in December 2023, which were not recognized as 2023 revenue. Those trucks are scheduled to be delivered this year.

Founder and CEO William Trainer’s move today was to appoint Phillips to the newly created position of president.

Trainer is slated to stay in his role as CEO.

“Phillips will lead the sales, assembly, procurement, and engineering teams, while also clearly setting the direction and expansion of the company's sales and operations programs,” the company said today in a news release.

Its plan for Phillips is to have him help streamline production and increase vehicle sales across Vicinity’s mid-size bus, and Class 3 electric-truck product lines, according to the company.

Phillips has more than 30 years experience in the commercial-transportation sector, and has had leadership roles in distribution and manufacturing, including operations, sales, and marketing, the company said.

He joined Vicinity in 2021 as senior director of sales and was later promoted to be vice-president of sales.

Before joining Vicinity, Phillips was general manager at Alliance Bus Group, a leading bus distributor.

He had also been vice-president of sales, in the commercial bus group at REV Group, where he was responsible for brands and distribution channels with two manufacturing facilities producing more than 3,000 custom units per year.

Vicinity today also relayed news that it has agreed to receive a US$2-million unsecured loan at a 12-per-cent annual interest rate from two arms-length parties.

The agreement requires Vicinity to repay the loan within one year of it getting the money. Vicinity may prepay the loan at any time without penalty, the company said.

“As further consideration to the lenders for making the loan, the company has agreed to issue 800,000 bonus warrants exercisable into common shares at a price of $1.15 per common share for 12 months,” the company said in a separate news release.

The TSX Venture Exchange must approve the company issuing those bonus warrants, it added.

The company’s share price has struggled, hitting a 52-week low of $0.84 earlier this month. Its shares rose 3.45 per cent, to $0.90 today.

Last summer, the company’s share price topped $1.70.

The company rebranded as Vicinity Motor Corp., from Grande West Transportation Group Inc., in March 2021, about a month after its shares reached at an all-time high closing price of $11.55.

It launched trading on Nasdaq that summer.

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