Forget Tesla And Rivian: America's Iconic School Bus Maker Smokes EV, Auto Giants With 117% Stock Surge

Zinger Key Points
  • Tesla, the only profitable EV maker among its peers, is down 29% this year.
  • Rivian and Lucid are hemorrhaging cash and have seen their stocks plummet too.
  • Electric bus sales accounted for over 9% of Blue Bird's last quarter volume.

Electric vehicle stocks are not exactly having a great year, but one company that makes low-emission school buses has left auto sector heavyweights in the dust by more than doubling its valuation.

What Happened: Shares of Blue Bird Corp BLBD, which makes the iconic yellow American school buses used by generations of students since 1927, have skyrocketed nearly 117% this year, reaching a market capitalization of $1.85 billion, according to data from Benzinga Pro.

This growth comes as the company capitalizes on the Biden administration’s Clean School Bus Program, venturing into the electric bus segment.

BLBD Vs. Big Players: Though dwarfed by car giants in terms of valuation, Blue Bird’s gains are impressive. Tesla, Inc. TSLA, the only profitable EV maker among its peers, is down 28% this year due to thinning margins and slowing demand. Other EV startups like Rivian Automotive, Inc. RIVN and Lucid Group, Inc. LCID are hemorrhaging cash and have seen their stocks plummet about 44% and 33%, respectively.

That means a $1,000 investment at the beginning of this year in Blue Bird would have fetched you about $2,200, while Tesla, Rivian, and Lucid would have shrunk that to $704, $542, and $686, respectively.

Even established automakers haven’t fared well, with Ford Motor Co. F and Stellantis NV STLA failing to excite investors despite their broader offerings. General Motors Co. GM stands as the sole exception, with a 27% gain this year.

See Also: Best EV Penny Stocks

Why It Matters: The Environmental Protection Agency’s Clean School Bus Program aims to replace existing buses with zero-emission alternatives by 2026, offering $5 billion over five years. Blue Bird plays perfectly into this initiative, offering two electric options: the Vision Electric (77-passenger capacity) and the All-American RE Electric (84-passenger capacity). These buses charge overnight in 6-8 hours and travel up to 120 miles on a single charge.

Blue Bird, which has an over 40% share in the school bus market as of May 2023, also sells propane, gas, and diesel-powered buses.

Sales And Financials: Blue Bird’s second-quarter performance was strong, with 2,254 buses sold and revenue jumping 15% to $345.9 million, exceeding analyst expectations. Adjusted EBITDA reached $45.8 million.

CEO Phil Horlock, in May, reported a robust order backlog exceeding 5,900 units, including nearly 500 electric buses with EV bookings rising 56% year-over-year in the quarter. This signifies a growing demand for electric school buses, with electric sales accounting for over 9% of the company’s last quarter volume.

Blue Bird projects full-year net revenue of $1.275-$1.325 billion and adjusted EBITDA of $145-$165 million.

Price Action: Shares of Blue Bird closed down 1.23% at $57.16 on Thursday, according to data from Benzinga Pro.

Check out more of Benzinga's Future Of Mobility coverage by following this link.

Read More: Tesla CEO Elon Musk Justifies Diverting Nvidia Chips After Ross Gerber's Remark: ‘Not A Matter Of Tucking A Few Computers Into A Corner'

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