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Fisker rejects short-seller's allegations; says no bank guarantee with partner Magna

Traders work on the floor of the NYSE in New York

(Reuters) - Electric-vehicle maker Fisker Inc said on Thursday that it does not have a bank guarantee with manufacturing partner Magna Steyr, the Austrian unit of Magna International Inc, in response to a report by short-seller Fuzzy Panda Research.

Fisker said it intends "to take immediate and aggressive action to address the false and misleading claims made by Fuzzy Panda Research," adding that it owns the intellectual property for the Fisker Ocean Platform.

Shares of the EV maker rose 0.5% in extended trade, after falling nearly 5% following the short-seller's report.

In a report disclosing an unspecified short position earlier on Thursday, Fuzzy Panda Research said that Fisker's access to its funds is limited by bank guarantees that set a mininum cash balance.

The short-seller added that nearly all of the $825 million Fisker has in cash "is tied up" in guarantees to Magna Steyr.

The guarantees include Fisker paying for Magna's tooling costs as well as manufacturing margins and direct manufacturing costs, the short seller said, citing interviews with former employees.

Magna did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Fisker is the latest target of Fuzzy Panda Research, which has previously issued reports on EVgo Inc, Workhorse Group Inc and now bankrupt Electric Last Mile Solutions.

Fuzzy Panda Research also said that Fisker has been selling shares to raise cash and pay expenses instead of funding operating losses using its cash balance.

"We think Fisker's asset-light business model could be better described as liability-heavy," it said.

Fisker, which went public in 2020 through a blank-check merger that valued it at $2.9 billion, started manufacturing its Ocean SUV at Magna Steyr last month.

Fisker's shares have lost about half their market value this year amid a wider market selloff and as investor sentiment sours towards loss-making electric-vehicle startups.

(Reporting by Akash Sriram and Tiyashi Datta in Bengaluru; Editing by Shailesh Kuber)