After a fierce battle between the states of Texas and Michigan, it was finally Illinois that managed to hold Lion Electric’s 800-employee vehicle manufacturing plant under its claws.
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“We have good ties with the other governors. They are chic. We are going to open service centers in Texas and Michigan, even if they did not have the factory, ”said Marc Bédard, president and founder of Lion, after a day marked Friday by its IPO under the “LEV” symbol.
Early Friday morning, the Saint-Jérôme company revealed that it had set its sights on Joliet, a suburb of Chicago, for its American factory of 100% electric vehicles for medium and heavy vehicles.
At a press conference, the Democratic Governor of Illinois, JB Pritzker, was pleased to have been able to attract the company from Saint-Jérôme.
“He had difficult questions,” he admitted with humor, speaking of Marc Bédard.
“It was big negotiations. The governor is a bit like the prime minister, he is the head of state. We talked on the phone every Friday evening for months, ”said Marc Bédard on the phone.
In total, the 900,000 square foot Joliet plant will create some 800 jobs. Its production will begin next year. 20,000 vehicles will be manufactured there per year, compared to 2,500 at the Saint-Jérôme plant.
On Friday, neither Marc Bédard nor the company wanted to say how much the firm had received in public aid from the Americans, but a source familiar with the matter indicated that around thirty million dollars were put on the table. .
Head office in Quebec
As he sets foot in the United States, Marc Bédard wanted to silence those who doubt the future of Lion on Quebec soil on Friday.
“The head office remains in Quebec. I confirm that. There is no problem,” he assured.
Marc Bédard was disappointed with the recent exit of the mayor of Saint-Jérôme, who said she feared losing the $185 million Quebec battery plant to Aéroports de Montréal (ADM).
“The land in Saint-Jérôme is built on rock, so even before the first shovelful of earth, rock has to be removed for $8 million,” he said.
The number 1 of the electric flagship also wanted to respond to those who find it hard to see him open a factory in the United States after having had help.
“The only public money we are talking about is a debt. There is a forgivable part of 15 million dollars if we respect all the conditions and they are not very severe. The 100 million dollars, we will repay it, ”he said.
“People who think that we will be able to manufacture vehicles in Quebec and export them to the United States without stopping are mistaken because they too have protection rules,” he concluded.
On its first day on the market, Lion’s stock closed at $21.59 in Toronto, up $1.92, or 9.76%.
► Lion’s IPO on Friday will be synonymous with big cash inflows for early-stage shareholders, including Marc Bédard, Power Corporation, XPNDCroissance, Michel Ringuet and the co-founders of Northern Genesis.
- Saint-Jérôme (vehicles)
- Joliet, Illinois (vehicles)
- To be determined in Quebec (batteries)
- Stock Symbol: LEV
Source : Lion