In line with the IPO, Lilium CEO Daniel Wiegand once again underscored the grand vision: In 2015, the air taxi company set out to “develop a product and build a team that would radically change the way the world moves. Six years and five generations of technology demonstration aircraft later, we are closer to this goal than before. “
The Lilium stock has been listed on the US technology exchange Nasdaq since Wednesday after the company’s merger with the acquisition company Qell, which is already listed there. These special purpose vehicles are shell companies that initially raise capital through an IPO, which they then use to take over a company that is not determined in advance. The transaction will bring in gross proceeds of US $ 584 million, well below the roughly $ 800 million expected. It became less money because two-thirds of Qell’s shareholders made use of their right to be paid in advance.
This reluctance is not surprising and does not necessarily indicate that investors are skeptical of Lilium. On the contrary, the boom in special vehicles in the United States has slowed significantly in recent times, with many analysts believing companies to be overvalued. Lilium is not an isolated case in the industry: competitor Joby Aviation wanted to raise $ 1.6 billion through a very similar operation, but only released around one billion. Archer stands at just under 860 million, 1.1 billion was expected. At Archer and Joby too, many investors have pulled out. UK Vertical Aerospace is expected to go public in the fall.
All four want to bring electric air taxis of different designs to the market. The Lilium Jet is the largest with seven seats and is also expected to be able to fly the furthest with a range of around 250 kilometers. The first commercial flight should take place in 2024. Lilium wants to offer the first routes in Germany and Florida. The schedule and the technology are considered very ambitious. Aviation authorities must be satisfied that aircraft are safe before approval. A study by Porsche Consultin
g recently underlined that social acceptance among the population will be one of the major difficulties. According to the study, investors in the sector need to be extremely persistent before their deposits are profitable.
With the IPO of Lilium, the new board of directors is also formed. The body is chaired by former Airbus CEO Tom Enders. It also includes David Neeleman, who founded Azul, Jet Blue Airways and Breeze Airways, among others, as well as former Airbus board member and ILFC boss Henri Courpron. “It won’t be an easy road,” Enders says. “But we have the technology, the team and the resources to give us the confidence that Lilium will do this.” At around noon local New York time, the value of Lilium’s shares was down 3.5% to $ 9.07.