Driverless delivery vehicles manufacturer Clevon is leaving the Tallinn Stock Exchange just half-a-year after floating, citing a need to seek alternate ways to raise funds and to stave off potential tax insolvency, ETV news show "Aktuaalne kaamera" (AK) reported Thursday evening.
Kaarel Ots, head of the Tallinn Stock Exchange, more properly Nasdaq Tallinn AS, told AK he had been taken by surprised by Clevon's decision to leave the market so soon. "I understood that they need more funds. They haven't actually tried to raise these via the stock exchange [though]," Ots said.
Clevon's position is simple: They want to take the company off the stock exchange. To do so, they need to obtain 90 percent of the shares. /---/ Prior to the IPO starting, they owned somewhere around 88 percent. So if they get their hands on 2 percent more, then they will have the chance to take over whatever is left, less than ten percent, at a fair compensation," he went on.
Clevon founder Arno Kütt (pictured) told AK that when the company went public a year ago, the situation in the financial markets was completely different from the case now, while rescuing the company is paramount.
"[Nasdaq] First North [alternative market] has a limit, whereby five million can only be raised, but clearly now we need significantly more for next year than five million. We are currently looking for 20 million in fact. Today, strategic investors expect us to not be a publicly traded company, plus of course this whole investment climate is very difficult at the moment," he said.
Clevon sees the U.S., where the legislation for driverless vehicles is uniform and better developed, as its main market. By contrast, European legislation is fragmented, with each country having its own set of regulations, Clevon says.
For this reason, major investors are also sought, primarily from the U.S., but the bottom line cannot be satisfied via the Tallinn Stock Market.
Kütt added that Clevon might reenter the stock exchange, either in Tallinn or elsewhere, in five to seven years' time.
Based in Viljandi, Clevon began life as Cleveron, making automated parcel machines, and was split into two business lines a year ago, hence the name change, while the unmanned vehicle aspect was floated on First North.
The minority shareholders are, however, angered by the decision, AK reported, citing an investment forum run by Estonian bank LHV, while almost half the company's stock value ended up being wiped in the past week.
Sander Pikel, head of LHV's brokerage operations, told AK that many smaller shareholders had hoped to be a part of a potential success story, whereas that outcome now is in jeopardy.
Clevon for its part is setting up a trading platform, Clevon Investors, for its smaller shareholders; the latter should exchange their shares for Clevon Investors shares, by the end of this month.
Another option is to sell their stock, though as noted this would be at a significantly lower price than what they could have obtained even a week ago.
Notwithstanding the European regulations issue, late last year, Clevon started unmanned delivery vehicles' trials on the streets of the small Belgian town of Londerzeel, and has also signed a two-month pilot deal with Tallinn City Government, servicing the old town.
Editor: Andrew Whyte, Mari Peegel
Source: Aktuaalne kaamera