Stock Market

CEO Ouster Signals That Workhorse Group Could Finally Turn a Corner

There’s no denying it. It’s been a bumpy road for investors of electric delivery van maker Workhorse Group (NASDAQ:WKHS) in 2021. After a first-quarter pop and drop, WKHS stock just can’t seem to get off the ground lately.

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Workhorse is in a time of transition, and let’s face it — not everybody likes big changes. On the other hand, sometimes a new leader can galvanize a company and take it to the next level.

In the case of Workhorse, a “reorganization” in the C-Suite could do the struggling automaker some good. Or at least, that’s what the staunch WKHS bulls would like to think.

So, let’s dive head-first into the controversy and drill down into the facts as Workhorse starts a new chapter and, hopefully, creates some positive momentum.

WKHS Stock Needs To Show a Lighter Shade of Red

Whether you’re in the red with WKHS stock or not, depends on how long you’ve been holding the shares.

In late May of 2020, the stock was priced at at less than $3, so long-term investors might be doing quite well today.

On the other hand, anyone who took a long position near the Feb. 4, 2021 peak of $42.96 is likely stuck in a bag-holding situation today.

At the time of this writing, WKHS stock was trading at exactly $12 after several months of choppy, sloppy price action.

It’s undoubtedly frustrating as the company and the stock seem to be waiting for a liftoff which hasn’t happened yet.

I should also mention a couple of statistics. For one thing, Workhorse has trailing 12-month earnings per share loss of 65 cents.

That’s certainly not the worst I’ve ever seen, so hopefully the company can turn that number from a negative into a positive soon, or at least a lighter shade of red.

Also, it’s important to observe that WKHS stock has a five-year monthly beta of 2.71. Clearly, the stock is prone to bouts of volatility, so please don’t take a huge position in it.

Problems of the Past

There’s no time better than right now for Workhorse to start doing things differently.

Let’s just be honest. The past year hasn’t been perfect for Workhorse.

It was a huge blow to the company when, in late February, a coveted United States Postal Service (USPS) contract ended up going to rival Oshkosh (NYSE:OSK).

Prior to that, optimism ran high among the company’s investors. Rumors swirled about Workhorse being on the verge of winning that USPS contract.

After the contract went to Oshkosh, Workhorse filed a formal complaint with the IU.S. Federal Court of Claims against the USPS.

That complaint has gotten nowhere, so far. Meanwhile, during the first quarter of 2021, Workhorse produced a grand total of 38 C-Series vehicles year-to-date.

Badly Needed Changing of the Guard

The company needs to do better than that. Yet, there’s a major transition afoot and this could provide some encouragement to Workhorse’s stakeholders.

CEO Duane Hughes was ousted on July 29 and replaced by Rick Dauch, an auto industry veteran.

Apparently, after supply chain disruptions and multiple quarters of missed production targets — not to mention the USPS debacle — Workhorse decided that enough is enough.

Workhorse had failed to meet its 2020 production target of 300 to 400 C-Series vehicles. Moreover, the company had slashed its 2021 production goal from an initial estimate of 1,800 to 1,000 vans.

In light of all that, the stock holders shouldn’t be too surprised that Workhorse suspended its production guidance for the rest of 2021.

Dauch has deep experience as he has served as CEO of Delphi Technologies, as well as president and CEO of Accuride. So maybe, this is the changing of the guard that Workhorse so badly needed.

The Bottom Line

It’s as good a time as any for Workhorse to change its CEO and thereby turn a new page.

With better leadership, Workhorse might be able to inspire shareholder confidence again – which, in turn, could boost the price of WKHS stock.

On the date of publication, David Moadel did not have (either directly or indirectly) any positions in the securities mentioned in this article. The opinions expressed in this article are those of the writer, subject to the Publishing Guidelines.

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