July 18th, 2023 | 07:30 CEST
320% return - this stock is tomorrow's star: Mercedes-Benz, Altech Advanced Materials, Meyer Burger
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"[...] We know exactly what we are doing and are implementing what we consider to be a proven technology in an industrially applicable and scalable way. [...]" Uwe Ahrens, Director, Altech Advanced Materials AG
Mercedes-Benz: Luxury strategy a flop after all?
In 2019, the world was still in order - also for Mercedes-Benz. In 2019, the Swabians produced 627,000 vehicles between January and May. In the German plants alone, 484,000 cars rolled off the production line. In the same period in 2023, there were only 343,000 cars - a minus of 30%. The decline could become even more significant when the electric vehicle subsidy for business customers expires on September 1. According to Handelsblatt reports, other car manufacturers, such as VW, are already considering phasing out temporary employment contracts and have already cut shifts at the main site in Zwickau.
In addition, private customers are driving their cars longer than they did years ago. Current e-car models are not yet convincing for many. At the same time, customers assume that the internal combustion engine will be obsolete in the medium to long term - so a new purchase is not worthwhile for many customers. Since the belt has to be tightened anyway, given inflation, private individuals are driving their cars longer. Despite the gloomy outlook, the Mercedes-Benz share is holding steady and trading around 7.8% higher than six months ago. However, the share has already bumped its head twice in the area of EUR 76. Overcoming this resistance seems difficult given the current situation. Since it is also unclear to what extent Mercedes-Benz's luxury strategy will pay off in the long term, investors should currently avoid the stock, as well as VW and BMW shares.
Altech Advanced Materials: Battery share rises by almost 320%
While carmakers try to score points on the market with e-models or seek their salvation in the luxury segment, suppliers of battery technology can work in peace. The Heidelberg-based company Altech Advanced Materials specializes in coating anode material with aluminum oxide. This is intended to make batteries more durable and more powerful. Altech itself considers performance increases of 50 to 100% possible. The aluminum oxide can be enriched with silicon. Silicon is currently also used as anode material in prototypes at Mercedes-Benz. The EQXX prototype thus achieves more power per unit of weight. With its anode technology, Altech Advanced Materials is well-positioned to supply battery factories. "We want to provide manufacturers of batteries for e-cars with an application-ready drop-in technology that is low cost, high performance and safe. In addition, batteries made from our material are less dependent on international supply chains. Today, more than 80% of anode material still comes from China," said Uwe Ahrens, Director of Altech Advanced Materials in an interview last fall.
Altech Advanced Materials is currently expanding its Schwarze Pumpe site to produce material that will convince battery manufacturers and carmakers. At the factory, the Company also wants to push ahead with its second mainstay: Together with the Fraunhofer Institute, Altech Advanced Materials is working on solid-state batteries that manage entirely without critical raw materials. "This involves flexible electricity storage systems that can be scaled to almost any capacity and are inexpensive, durable and safe due to the materials used. Safety is important for everyone, but even more so for industrial applications in the multi-digit megawatt range. The reason for this is quickly explained: this battery is not flammable. We work with a solid ceramic cylinder. Furthermore, common salt is used instead of lithium," says Ahrens in the interview. Such solid-state batteries could store energy from solar parks and deliver it to the grid with a time delay. Currently, the market price for electricity drops significantly when the sun shines. Solid-state batteries can make the business model of solar park operators more robust.
Meyer Burger: EU commits to European solar industry - will Altech benefit?
Just recently, the Swiss photovoltaic company Meyer Burger received EUR 200 million in funding from the EU for the development of 3.5 GW of production capacity. The capital is expected to be invested in Germany and Spain. This commitment to the European solar industry is also positive for Altech Advanced Materials - the solid-state battery, which does not require critical raw materials, would fit perfectly into the picture of a green EU but independent of China. Altech is already cooperating with leading industrial companies such as SGL Carbon and the Spanish company Ferroglobe.
The stock of Altech Advanced Materials is a success story. Just a year ago, the stock was trading at EUR 1.96. Today it is around EUR 14.40, corresponding to a return of almost 320%. Most recently, the value, which is now also tradable on Xetra, corrected. The story of Altech remains exciting. While industrial companies fight for market share, the Heidelberg-based company is advancing the technology of tomorrow. When the value turns, daredevils should be wide awake.
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