Luminar CFO defends lidar maker’s pricing and revenue

A Mercedes-Benz van retrofitted with unique types of lidar devices, together with Luminar’s Iris, to showcase the distinctions in the systems.

Michael Wayland / CNBC

Lidar maker Luminar Technologies, stung by a modern Wall Street downgrade, is responding in an uncommon way: getting its scenario directly to the shareholders.

In a letter found by CNBC on Friday early morning, Luminar CFO Tom Fennimore – himself a previous Goldman Sachs handling director – can take issue with arguments made in a bearish take note by Goldman analyst Mark Delaney earlier this week.

Delaney on Tuesday afternoon slash Goldman’s score on Luminar to offer, from hold, arguing that its shares are overpriced relative to crucial competitors and that Luminar’s individual pricing assumptions are unrealistically large.

Luminar’s shares have fallen about 16% considering the fact that Delaney’s note was printed.

“We continue to see Luminar as a person of a handful of leaders in the really aggressive lidar industry,” Delaney wrote. “However, we see downside to the firm’s margin outlook with the organization targeting profits for every automobile of ~$1k which we believe indicates ASPs [average selling prices] about 50-100% bigger than critical competitors.”

Just put, even though Delaney acknowledges that Luminar is a person of only a number of lidar makers winning discounts with important automakers, he thinks that Luminar won’t be equipped to get the prices it really is hoping to get from all those automakers. And based on 2025 revenue assumptions, he sees Luminar investing at four moments the valuation of competitors Innoviz and Hesai, both of which have also received company from automakers.   

Fennimore argues that Delaney missed two critical points.

“A person, our tech is improved, and individuals ordinarily fork out a premium for tech, but to us this isn’t really a theoretical exercise: This is pricing that we truly have in put,” Fennimore told CNBC in an interview on Friday morning.

Fennimore’s letter points out that Luminar has by now signed contracts to offer components and application for more than 20 future new motor vehicles from key automakers together with Volvo, Polestar, Mercedes-Benz and Chinese automobile giant SAIC Motor. Those people contracts lock in pricing by way of the life of people approaching versions, he said.

“‘Premium pricing’ is just not a theoretical concept we are forecasting, but an accomplishment we have already produced in our significant purchaser contracts,” Fennimore wrote in the shareholder letter.

And the next stage Fennimore suggests Goldman missed: The time body Delaney selected to review Luminar’s valuation towards people of its rivals.

“We consider utilizing 2025 profits as a valuation benchmark versus peers considerably undervalues Luminar, as several of the 20+ motor vehicle lines we have been awarded are not expected to access generation until eventually beyond 2025,” he wrote.

Place one more way, some of the significant contracts that Luminar has now signed is not going to crank out considerable earnings until eventually individuals vehicles launch in the second half of the decade, Fennimore explained.

The determination to just take the rebuttal right to Luminar’s shareholders is abnormal, but Fennimore believes it can be warranted – and he hinted that Luminar could possibly pick out to ship much more letters like this in the upcoming.

“When anybody raises legitimate and thoughtful problems about us, we want to reply with legitimate and thoughtful facts,” Fennimore advised CNBC. “Due to the fact I assume the funds markets rely on getting a superior and factual debate.”