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Kandi stock plunges after short seller alleges 'brazen scheme' to falsify revenue

Tomi Kilgore

Shares pace selloff in other China-based EV makers, while Nikola's stock leads U.S. EV makers lower

Shares of Kandi Technologies Group Inc. hit hard Monday, after Hindenburg Research took a swipe at the China-based electric vehicle and battery packs maker by alleging "fake sales" to undisclosed affiliates of the company.

Kandi's stock (KNDI) plunged 25.6% in active afternoon trading, putting them on track for the biggest one-day selloff in roughly 18 months. Trading volume swelled to 38.5 million shares, which is more than double the full-day average of 15.0 million shares.

The stock has now tumbled 32.2% since it closed at a 6-year high of $14.93 on Nov. 23.

Short seller Hindenburg said in a report published on its website that it has uncovered a "brazen scheme" by Kandi (link) to "falsify revenue," as it recorded revenue to what appeared to be a Kandi subsidiary.

Hindenburg said that after an "on-the-ground inspection of Kandi facilities, as well as interviews with more than a dozen former employees and business partners, it determined that the bulk (almost 64%) of the company's last 12 months (LTM) sales have been to related parties.

The largest customer, representing more than half (55%) of LTM sales shared a phone number with a Kandi subsidiary, and shared an executive with Kandi.

"We visited the 'customer,'" Hindenburg's report said. "It is based in a tiny building right next to Kandi's factory with a sign indicating that it's a Kandi company."

The report said that same building housed an entity used by Kandi in a separate "fake sales scheme" to collect subsidies from China's government, for which it was fined and sanctioned.

Kandi declined a request by MarketWatch for comment. The company did warn in its 10-Q quarterly filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission (link) earlier this month that it may increasingly become a "target" for scrutiny by the public, including "complaints" to regulatory agencies and "malicious allegations."

Hindenburg said Kandi's second-largest customer, representing about 9% of LTM sales, was once owned by Kandi, and its website still uses the Kandi logo. And records show that 91% of U.S. exports by Kandi's "customer" when to related entities based out of the U.S. headquarters and warehouses.

"To support this, we have photographic evidence of one such Kandi 'customer's' inventory sitting in Kandi's own warehouse," Hindenburg wrote.

Among other China EV makers, shares of Nio Inc. (NIO) were the most active of the lot, as they fell 4.2% on volume of 157.5 million shares, and were down 6.5% since closing at a record $55.38 on Nov. 23.

Elsewhere, shares of XPeng Inc. (XPEV) shed 9.2% and Li Auto Inc. (LI) fell 7.8%.

Bucking the weakness in the China-based EV sector, China Automotive Systems Inc.'s stock (CAAS) more than doubled, skyrocketing 113.6% after the Wuhan-based company said it has shipped about 120,000 of its electric power-steering products so far this yea (link)r. The company said it expects to sell a total of over 140,000 steering products to China-based EV makers this year and about 200,000 products next year.

China Automotive noted that October sales of China-based EVs about doubled from a year ago to 144,000 vehicles, while China's government has set an EV car target of 25% of all new cars by 2025.

Separately, Zhengzhou, China-based Yutong Bus Co. Ltd. said Monday that it received an order for 1002 buses (link) valued at about CNY1.8 billion ($273.6 million) from Mowasalat, the Qatar-based public transport company that will provide commuting services for the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 soccer tournament. Of the 1002 buses, 741 will be electric, which Yutong boasted makes it the largest order of EV buses "ever."

Meanwhile in the U.S., EV market leader Tesla Inc.'s stock (TSLA) slipped 0.7% after running up 19.6% amid a four-day win streak through Friday. That puts the stock in danger of snapping a four-day win streak in which the stock ran up 19.6% to close at a record $585.76 on Friday.

Don't miss: S&P's decision on Tesla slated for after the close (link).

The stock has hiked up 49.9% in November and 595.4% so far this year, compared year-to-date gains for the Nasdaq Composite Index of 36.1% and the S&P 500 index of 12.0%.

Shares of Nikola Corp. (NKLA) sank 26.2% toward a two-week low, putting the on track to suffer a third-straight loss. The EV truck maker announced before Monday's open a scaled-back supply deal with General Motors Corp. (GM), which didn't include GM taking an equity stake in Nikola, as had been previously said. GM shares shed 1.8%.

Also read: Nikola stock drops as GM deal is now 'nothing to write home about.' (link)

See related: Nikola short sellers up more than $400 million after downsized GM deal (link).

Fellow U.S. EV truck maker Workhorse Group Inc. (WKHS) shares dropped 6.4%, and have lost 11.8% amid a four-day losing streak.

Shares of Blink Charging Co (link). (BLNK), which makes EV charging equipment, slumped 9.7%.

Among other US-based EV companies, shares of Acrimoto Inc. (FUV) dropped 1.3%, and has lost ground every day since it closed at a record $17.01 on Nov. 20; and Ayro Inc. (AYRO) slid 10.5%, and have now tumbled 29.2% amid a four-day losing streak.

-Tomi Kilgore; 415-439-6400;


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11-30-20 1538ET

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