2024 Update on PLD Space

Our 2024 Update for PLD Space:

  • Official launch cost EUR 8 to 8.5 mio. for max. 540 kg payload
  • First MIURA 5 launch earliest 2025; commercial launch 2026
  • Management keeps making misleading statements regarding funding, launch schedule and launch capability
  • 160 employees, planned 300 (!) end of 2024
  • Latest PERTE funding of EUR 40.5 mio from Spanish government

The emperor has no clothes

Company statements and balance sheets are a record of a management’s competence and truthfulness. Over the past decade, PLD’s management has proven deficient in both. Investment rounds, project schedules or launch capabilities: The history of PLD is marred by inaccuracies and misrepresentations, obscured by PR. That things in “startup-land” are volatile is obvious, but using misrepresentations to solicit investments from private, unsuspecting citizens is quite another.

This is exactly what PLD Space has done. To show just one particular case of how PLD operates, we’ve contrasted PLD’s official statements from their funding round through SegoFinance funding with their projections from the official balance sheet, which were published only 8 weeks apart between February and April of 2023.

On the first chart, orange indicates the numbers shown to retail investors, showing 4 launches by 2025 with subsequent 6 and 10 in the following years. The internal projections start with a single launch in 2025 and go through 6 and only 8 in the consecutive years – about a 40 million Euro difference in revenue.

Of course, investors were told the first MIURA 5 launch would happen in 2024, see this screenshot from their SEGO Finance offering.

This launch, which we assumed would be a test launch, turns out to have been fully booked on the revenue projection with 9.6 million under “MIURA 5 launches”. As you can further see from the projection, revenue numbers shown to retail investors exceeded the forecast of the balance sheet by quite a bit.

PLD Revenue Projections

Less than 12 months later, in their PR announcement of the PERTE funding, the first commercial launch will happen no sooner than 2026 (aka: there was no progress on rocket development), and suddenly the launch cadence for 2030 – which was 16 in the SEGO Finance and 18 for the balance sheet – jumped to “30 launches per year”. Quite the turnaround.

It keeps happening

There are endless cases where projections do not match up with facts, or even numbers from one day with numbers from the next.

For the annual report data, labor costs are actually decreasing (!) in their launch ramp-up between 2026 to 2028, while the crowdfunding offer says labor-costs will go from 8.5 million to 15 million between 2023 and 2025, a time in which PLD supposedly more than doubles the number of employees yet decreases the average salary by…20%?

This comes on the back of misrepresentations about “total investment” of 50 million Euros, whereas equity in the company still amounts to 25 million Euros at the end of 2022 plus another 15 million in debt. For perspective on how long this has been going on, one might also take a look at older projections from 2018 used to raise funds:

PLD Space Business Plan from 2018

We would have liked to focus on the progress the company is making in their development of the MIURA rocket, the engine, the test facilities at TERUEL, their new headquarters and much more, but unfortunately, when announcements do not match up with reality and government money is thrown down the furnace, we find it hard to cheer.

We all know that space is hard, and the fact that this is Spain’s #1 contender for launch capabilities is not promising.

For the full story, see our detailed analysis here. All information in this analysis was obtained from public sources and we encourage you to do do your own due diligence. Feel free to contact us for corrections or share our content. Attribution is always welcome.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Scroll to Top