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Panasonic is one step closer to coming to Oklahoma

Updated: Oct 14, 2023

According to an article by the Oklahoman, Panasonic has filed paperwork with the State of Oklahoma to take advantage of the LEAD act, which is a pot of tax incentives worth nearly $700M.

Oklahoma Gov Stitt signing the LEAD Act into law

This past Tuesday, Oklahoma Senate President Pro Tempore Greg Treat is quoted as saying

"It's my understanding that Project Ocean has submitted an application as of yesterday or today...I have not actually seen that, but I've heard that and I believe that to be accurate." House Floor Leader Jon Echols, confirmed he heard the same thing along with other unnamed lawmakers.

The last time we talked about Panasonic was just after Mayes County rejected the TIF vote to provide Project Ocean with an additional $150M in tax breaks. We surmised the fat lady hadn't sung yet and Panasonic would probably just pivot to a different location within Oklahoma, likely the Fair Oaks Ranch industrial park. Here is a fun fact for you: Fair Oaks is owned by the Robson family, who are related to the Walton family via the marriage of Helen Robson to Walmart founder Sam Walton.

Since then, Volkswagen came to town looking to use the LEAD Act funds for their own Battery Manufacturing plant that ultimately went to Canada. We didn't write about the VW drama because we weren't sure how real the circus was. It seemed to us that VW was probably using OK as leverage against Canada and OK was using VW to pressure Panasonic to hurry up and commit by adding in an expiry date of April 15th to use it or lose it. At the same time, OK was able to use VW as a reason to lower the job requirement for the LEAD Act from 4000 down to 3500 which probably sweetens the pot a little in relation to the missing $150M from the failed TIF. Perhaps there will be another TIF in the works in the new County location.

If you are new here and not familiar with what we call "Panacanoo", lets quickly put you up to speed. Canoo is going to be using Panasonic batteries in their vehicles but their relationship seems to go beyond just supplier and buyer. The LEAD Act actually carves out $85M from the entire pot of $698M specifically for a subsidiary(or company B) of the "mega project"(company A)

This was brought up and questioned by Oklahoma senator Julia Kirt while the bill was being debated prior to being voted on. She also confirmed that although the term "subsidiary" was used, company B isn't required to actually be owned by Company A. See below for a recap of that debate segment.(sorry the video is a bit quiet)

Very few news outlets covered this aspect of the bill, and those that did could only provide rumors among law makers that company B was Canoo. Lets just hear it direct from some legislatures themselves. Below is a segment of a local Oklahoma radio show recorded on April 15th, 2022 called Capitol Call on KWON FM 93.3 where Oklahoma senator Julie Daniels ties Canoo and "Project Ocean" together.

If Panasonic is really committing to come to Oklahoma, they need to close on the arrangements with the state by April 14th to avoid the pre-funded money going back to the state treasury. Canoo will need to spend up to $500M in order to qualify for the $85M back as a rebate - this of course assumes that Canoo will still be going forward as "company B".

It will be interesting to see if Canoo makes any mention of this possibility in todays Earning Release conference call.

EDITOR UPDATE: Governor Stitt made comments in a press conference today (3/31/23) that indicated the location of the proposed site Panasonic is considering is still within Pryor/MAIP Oklahoma.

Authors disclosures: I am long Canoo - I own common shares, warrants and call options.

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