A Bristol-based engineering and aeronautical business founded by energy tech entrepreneur Stephen Fitzpatrick and developing electric vertical take-off and landing (eVTOL) aircraft has announced its intention to become a publicly traded company via a merger with Broadstone Acquisition Corp, a special purpose acquisition company.
Vertical Aerospace Group, which was founded in 2016 by Fitzpatrick, best known as the founder of the Ovo Group energy group, will be listed on the New York Stock Exchange following the combination, which is expected to close in the second half of 2021.
Vertical also announced investments from American Airlines, Avolon, Honeywell and Rolls-Royce, who have invested in the PIPE (private investment in public equity) and are part of Vertical’s strategic partner ecosystem; Microsoft’s M12, 40 North and Rocket Internet SE have also invested in the business.
The business combination values the combined company at an enterprise value of approximately $1.8bn and pro forma equity value of $2.2bn at the $10.00 per share PIPE price.
Fitzpatrick remains the majority shareholder in the business.
Commercial partnerships and individual conditional pre-orders have also been agreed with American Airlines, Virgin Atlantic and Avolon for up to 1,000 aircraft in total, providing a direct route to market and opportunity to work together on key go-to-market workstreams.
Vertical’s mission is to make air travel personal, on-demand and carbon-free through designing, manufacturing, selling and servicing one of the world’s best eVTOL aircraft, the VA-X4. It will travel at speeds over 200mph, be near silent when in flight, produce zero emissions and at low cost per passenger mile.
Over the past five years, Vertical has focused on building an experienced and senior team in the eVTOL industry who have more than 1,200 combined years of experience.
Vertical’s ecosystem approach draws on R&D commitments and the commercial and manufacturing expertise of partners such as Rolls-Royce, Honeywell, GKN and Solvay alongside an in-house focus on high value-add design and proprietary technology.
Stephen Fitzpatrick said: “Today’s announcement brings together some of the largest and most respected technology and aeronautical businesses in the world and together we can achieve our aim of making the VA-X4 the first zero carbon aircraft that most people will fly on.
“The United Kingdom is already a global leader in aerospace innovation and we believe Vertical Aerospace will be the British engineering champion to drive the aviation industry forward.”
Broadstone was founded by British entrepreneurs Hugh Osmond, Marc Jonas and Edward Hawkes, who have led and managed investments in excess of £10bn over a 20-year period. Hugh Osmond, chairman of Broadstone, said: “Transportation is one of the next big sectors of the global economy to be disrupted at scale. Vertical has a clear commercial plan to challenge short-haul air travel, and to create new markets where neither cars nor public transport can cope with demand.
“Stephen has built an outstanding management and engineering team with extensive experience in navigating the aviation regulatory approval processes. The team also has an outstanding track record of delivering projects commercially. In our assessment, Vertical has a considerable lead over competitors in this field – and has a clear business model to achieve commercialisation and significant growth.”