Electric Bus Maker Proterra Hires Banks to Prepare for IPO
This year is shaping up to be a big one for Silicon Valley IPO's, with ride-hailing companies Uber, Lyft, and video conferencing company Zoom all becoming publicly traded companies. California-based electric bus maker Proterra might be next in joining the growing list of companies preparing for an initial public offering.
According to Reuters, the company has hired investment banks to prepare for an initial public offering, people familiar with the matter said.
The Burlingame, California company, founded in 2004, is reportedly working with underwriters including JPMorgan Chase & Co, Morgan Stanley and Deutsche Bank AG on preparing for an IPO that could come as early as this year, said the sources, who asked not to be identified because the matter is confidential.
They added that the timing of Proterra's IPO depended on market conditions.
Founded in 2004, Proterra has provided hundreds of electric public transit buses to U.S. cities as a alternative to highly polluting and noisy diesel-powered busses. In 2014, Proterra appointed Ryan Popple as CEO. Popple was one of Tesla's first employees under founder Elon Musk. The company is also expanding into school buses.
Proterra's fully-electric busses are less costly to maintain, requiring no engine, fuel system, cooling system or exhaust system service like their diesel counterparts, while also being emissions free.
Last week, Proterra announced that the Virginia Department of General Services selected the company as a vendor to supply zero-emission electric buses and charging stations for its statewide contract.
Also in June, Charlotte Douglas International Airport (CLT), one of the busiest airports in the nation serving around 46 million passengers a year, agreed to purchase five 35-foot Proterra Catalyst E2 electric buses and five 125 kW Proterra plug-in charging systems. CLT becomes the ninth airport, including San Francisco International Airport, to purchase Proterra electric buses for zero-emission ground transportation.
In June 2018, the Chicago Transit Board awarded a $32 million contract for the purchase of 20 Proterra electric buses.
In addition to driving down the maintenance cost of its vehicles, the company provides leasing options which aim to reduce the initial investment of purchasing electric busses for public transit. Proterra also offers customers an option where it retains ownership of charging facilities, reducing upfront costs of switching to electric vehicles, according to its website.
Proterra sees a vast opportunity for its electric buses, since the U.S. is significantly behind other cities in the world in adopting electric buses, especially China, where the country aim to be a world leading in adopting electrification.
According to Bloomberg NEF, out of almost 425,000 electric buses in operation worldwide at the end of last year, some 421,000 were in China.
Proterra's competitors include Chinese automaker BYD, which is backed by Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway Inc and Canadian bus manufacturer New Flyer.
To date Proterra has raised $525 million in private fundraising rounds, and last year was valued at $855 million. Among its early backers are General Motors Ventures LLC and Kleiner Perkins.
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