Following in the footsteps of several air taxi competitors, Brazil’s Embraer (NYSE: ERJ) announced Monday it has successfully used a special purpose acquisition corporation (SPAC) merger to spin off its Eve Urban Air Mobility (UAM) electric vertical takeoff and landing (eVTOL) company.
Zanite Acquisition Corp. shareholders approved the merger Friday. Common stock for the newly named Eve Holdings Inc. will be listed on the New York Stock Exchange on Tuesday under the symbol EVEX. The company’s public warrants will be traded as EVEXW.
It’s the latest development in a global industry aimed at designing, testing, and manufacturing small, zero-emission aircraft to ferry passengers on short flights across gridlocked urban areas.
“The funding raised through the transaction provides Eve with growth capital and positions Eve well to execute its development plans, aided by our ongoing strategic partnership with Embraer,” said a statement released Monday by Eve’s co-CEO Andre Stein. “We intend to further strengthen our position as a leading global UAM player by delivering an effective and sustainable new mode of urban transportation.”
Eve has previously said it has already secured launch orders from 17 customers, via non-binding letters of intent. Those deals could result in a pipeline of 1,735 eVTOL aircraft valued at about $5 billion, according to Eve.
The total amount of private investment in public equity (PIPE) closed Friday with the new company priced at $10 per share, totaling $357 million, $52 million more than expected.The PIPE included $185 million from Embraer, $25 million from Zanite’s sponsor and $147 million from a consortium of investors including:
- Azorra Aviation
- BAE Systems (OTCMKTS: BAESY)
- Bradesco BBI
- Falko Regional Aircraft
- Republic Airways
- Rolls-Royce (OTCMKTS: RYCEY)
- SkyWest, Inc (NASDAQ: SKYW)
- Space Florida
- Thales USA
The merger has been in the works for months—the latest eVTOL developer to take advantage of a SPAC’s ability to raise investment funds more quickly than a traditional IPO.
Four competing air taxi developers—Germany’s Lilium (NASDAQ: LILM), Joby Aviation (NYSE: JOBY), Archer Aviation (NYSE: ACHR), and U.K.-based Vertical Aerospace (NYSE: EVTL)—also executed SPAC mergers in 2021. Another major German eVTOL developer, Volocopter, canceled plans for a SPAC merger last December.
About the Aircraft
Last month, Thales and Eve announced a partnership to develop avionics, flight control, navigation, communication, and connectivity systems for Eve’s proposed new aircraft.
New innovation on Eve’s eVTOL is expected to include a man-machine interface designed from scratch, Eve CTO Luiz Valentini said last December. “This new interface is designed to simplify piloting tasks, increase safety and reduce the training of pilots when compared to helicopters.”
Eve’s air taxi design includes seating for a pilot and four passengers. Lifted by eight rotors and driven by two rear-mounted pusher propellers, the aircraft is expected to offer a range of 100 km (60 sm).
Digital simulator flights of the aircraft began in 2020. Commercial introduction is planned for 2026.