Is LAZR’s Share Price Weakness a Buying Opportunity?

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Written By Kevin MacDonald

As the share price of LAZR continues its subdued trajectory, a compelling case emerges for investors seeking value in the electric vehicle (EV) sector’s future growth.

Despite the apparent short-term challenges marked by a focus on immediate EV sales growth, the long-term potential of LAZR appears undervalued.

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The Current Market Sentiment and LAZR’s Position

The recent S&P Global Mobility report from February 2024 forecasts a slight decline in global light vehicle production by -0.4% year-on-year in 2024, with a downward revision for both EVs and hybrids.

This projection reflects a cautious stance among investors towards the EV sector, likely driven by a broader risk-off approach amidst uncertain market conditions. However, it’s essential to distinguish the general market sentiment from the specific realities facing individual companies, such as LAZR.

Credits: DepositPhotos

LAZR, in particular, stands out for its resilience and potential for growth despite the broader market’s hesitance. The company’s ongoing collaboration with Volvo, marked by a significant ramp-up in production, is a testament to its solid positioning for revenue growth in 2024.

This partnership, along with the potential for more deals following successful execution, underscores the need to reassess the investment potential in LAZR based on its operational milestones and strategic directions.

The Backbone of LAZR’s Strategy

In the fiscal year 2023, LAZR has demonstrated commendable progress against its set milestones, particularly in product and technology development.

Key achievements include automating its production facility in Mexico, meeting automaker Start of Production (SOP) requirements, completing necessary software updates for automaker programs, advancing to the Iris+ C phase, and pioneering a next-generation lidar prototype.

These developments are crucial indicators of LAZR’s capability to meet and exceed industry expectations, laying a solid foundation for future growth.

Furthermore, LAZR’s success in passing the initial production audit for the EX90 in 2023 highlights its readiness for commercial production, with management confidently anticipating the commencement of volume production in 2024.

The anticipation of passing the final production rate test with stricter standards reinforces confidence in LAZR’s operational excellence.

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Financial Outlook and Valuation Insights

While LAZR’s order book fell slightly short of its $1 billion target, achieving $800 million in orders is commendable, especially considering the adjustment in order book methodology.

This adjustment reflects a more conservative approach but still reveals a 20% growth over the target on a like-for-like basis. With a revised order book of approximately $3.8 billion, LAZR maintains strong visibility into its growth trajectory.

The financial performance, particularly the fourth quarter of 2023’s free cash flow (FCF), though below guidance, does not diminish LAZR’s financial stability.

With a current cash position of around $290 million and a new credit line, LAZR is well-positioned to support its operations and upcoming production increases, promising an improved cash flow outlook.

Investment Thesis and Risks

The valuation of LAZR remains grounded in a realistic appraisal of its long-term potential. By aligning its future EBITDA projections with the historical valuation multiples of the S&P index, a forward-looking share price of $64 by FY30 emerges, demonstrating significant growth potential from the current valuation.

However, the primary concern remains execution. The ability of LAZR to continually meet its strategic goals without faltering is crucial.

Additionally, the condition of LAZR’s balance sheet as it scales up production warrants attention, with the potential need for additional capital raising a secondary risk.

A Strong Buy Amidst Short-term Weakness

In conclusion, the current share price weakness of LAZR presents a nuanced investment opportunity, one that is based not on the transient trends in EV production but on the company’s robust execution track record and strategic milestones.

Credits: DepositPhotos

With promising partnerships, a solid order book, and a strategic approach to technology and production, LAZR stands out as a compelling buy for investors looking to capitalize on the long-term growth of the EV sector.

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