Executives from the newly minted Eve Holding business combination between Embraer and special purpose acquisition company Zanite rang the opening bell at the New York Stock Exchange on May 10, marking a public listing that generated $377 million in proceeds. Under the terms of the deal, Embraer now holds a 90 percent stake in the eVTOL aircraft developer while Zanite shareholders and several other investors control the balance.
Led by co-CEOs Andre Stein and Jerry DeMuro, Eve considers its partnership with Embraer “a key competitive advantage,” given the Brazilian aerospace group’s global services and support infrastructure, thousands of skilled workers, and intellectual property background. The alignment also provides Eve with what it calls important cost and execution advantages as it seeks to scale its urban air mobility offering globally.
An upsized $357 million private investment in public equity PIPE priced at $10 per share was approved by shareholders on May 6, immediately before the closing of the transaction. The PIPE includes investments of $185 million from Embraer, $25 million from Zanite’s sponsor, and $147 million from a consortium of financial and strategic investors including Acciona, Azorra Aviation, BAE Systems, Bradesco BBI, Falko Regional Aircraft, Republic Airways, Rolls-Royce, SkyWest, Space Florida, and Thales USA.
Originally expected to draw closer to $500 million in proceeds, the initial public offering (IPO) confronted an unfortunate set of trading conditions stemming from economic shock associated with the war in Ukraine, interest rate hikes, and continuing global supply chain fragility. Nevertheless, executives on hand in New York expressed confidence that the $377 million will prove sufficient to fund the eVTOL’s certification and entry into service, now expected in 2026.
Speaking with AIN on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange, Stein insisted that the amount raised reflected market conditions and in no way stemmed from a lack of investor confidence in Eve. “What gives us confidence is that we now have enough cash to go all the way for the years to come,” he said. “We don’t control what happens with the market—everything that has happened out there such as the high interest rates, the war, Covid—but that’s okay because, first, we have the backing of Embraer, second we have our partners that brought cash to this transaction as well. That gives us more than enough to keep proceeding with the development not only of the aircraft but our service and support portfolio as well as our urban air traffic management solution and everything that comes with it.”
Stein stressed the importance of what he characterized as an approach to development that differs from other eVTOL startups that rush to produce and fly a prototype to stimulate interest from financiers. Eve, conversely, will adopt a more considered tack to ensure a smooth path toward certification, he explained. Under the auspices of Embraer, Eve recently received certification process approval from Brazilian civil aviation authority ANAC, validating the “building blocks” the company has inherited from a half-century of airplane development. The company plans to fly a proof-of-concept vehicle this year, but perhaps as important, it plans to accelerate internal development and increase the number of test rigs it uses to validate design assumptions.
“The important thing is to proceed in the right order and not necessarily rush to fly something that’s just flashy, but to really understand what’s behind it—the fly-by-wire, the control laws that make the aircraft fly,” said Stein. “The final prototype will be on time for our entry into service in 2026.”