Vertical Aerospace Group Ltd, the Bristol-based engineering and aeronautical business developing electric Vertical Take-Off and Landing (eVTOL) aircraft, has merged with Broadstone Acquisition Corp, a special purpose acquisition company (SPAC) in order to launch on the New York Stock Exchange.
The transaction will result in Vertical becoming a publicly-traded company, valued at approximately £1.5 billion ($2.2 billion). Vertical will be listed on the New York Stock Exchange following the combination, which is expected to close in the second half of 2021, under the ticker EVTL.
Vertical was founded in 2016 by Stephen Fitzpatrick, an established entrepreneur best known as the founder of the Ovo Group, a leading energy company determined to create a world without carbon and which includes Ovo Energy, the UK’s second-biggest energy retailer with revenues of £4.5 billion.
Stephen remains the majority shareholder in this 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.
The VA-X4 is expected to be certified to the same standards as large commercial airliners and therefore is expected to be 100 times safer than a helicopter.
Vertical was founded in 2016 by Stephen Fitzpatrick, an established entrepreneur best known as the founder of the Ovo Group, a leading energy company determined to create a world without carbon and which includes Ovo Energy, the UK’s second-biggest energy retailer with revenues of $6.5 billion. Stephen remains the majority shareholder in this business.
Over the past five years, Vertical has focused on building an experienced and senior team in the eVTOL industry who have over 1,200 combined years of experience, and have certified and supported over 30 different civil and military aircraft and propulsion systems. This includes: Michael Cervenka, former Head of Future Technologies at Rolls-Royce and Eric Samson, former VP Engineering and Chief Engineer at General Dynamics,
Stephen Fitzpatrick, Vertical CEO and Founder, said: “This is the most exciting time in aviation for almost a century; electrification will transform flying in the 21st century in the same way the jet engine did 70 years ago. 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.”
Derek Kerr, Chief Financial Officer, of American Airlines said: “Emerging technologies are critical in the race to reduce carbon emissions and we are excited to partner with Vertical to develop the next generation of electric aircraft. For years, American has led the industry in investing in newer, more fuel-efficient aircraft. Today’s partnership is another example of that commitment, and an investment in the future of air mobility. We are excited about the prospect of what this could mean for our customers, and our company.”
Broadstone was founded by British entrepreneurs Hugh Osmond, Marc Jonas and Edward Hawkes, who have led and managed investments in excess of £10 billion over a 20-year period. and delivered an IRR of 48% and equity multiple of 3.5x (based on the weighted averages from investments during the period March 1993 to date).
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.”
Warren East, CEO of Rolls-Royce, said: “We are delighted to build on our relationship with Vertical Aerospace as they take this strategic step to deliver eVTOL aircraft to a global market. Rolls-Royce is the leading supplier of all-electric and hybrid-electric power and propulsion systems for aviation and this exciting opportunity demonstrates our joint ambitions to lead the way in the new Urban Air Mobility market.”
Clare Barclay, CEO of Microsoft UK, said, “M12’s investment in Vertical Aerospace demonstrates the market opportunity in the growing demand for urban transportation, but historically, expanding mobility hasn’t been environmentally sustainable. Automation and Industry 4.0 is a clear way forward to realize more operational efficiencies and mitigate transportation congestion and pollution.”