02. May 2021 | 18:54 CET
Aixtron, SunMirror, Everfuel - Emergency braking for electric mobility!
The chip shortage triggered by the blow-up of supply chains due to the Corona lockdowns is hitting the automotive industry with full force at the moment. Daimler has already had to put thousands of employees on short-time work at its plants in Rastatt and Bremen. The situation is similar at VW and even at the Korean carmaker Hyundai. The procurement of the necessary raw materials, caused by the increased demand due to the energy transition, will also be a considerable challenge in the future, not only for the electric car industry.
time to read: 3 minutes by Stefan Feulner
"[...] China's dominance is one of the reasons why we are so heavily involved in the tungsten market. Here, around 85% of production is in Chinese hands. [...]" Dr. Thomas Gutschlag, CEO, Deutsche Rohstoff AG
To create a low-carbon future, the renewable energy industry needs a significant increase in raw materials such as copper, nickel, cobalt, rare earth metals and lithium. In the case of lithium, which is the most important raw material for powering batteries for electric cars, one study expects demand to increase by 25% per year until 2028. But even more serious is the fact that at least 80% of most of the raw materials needed come from China. In addition to increased domestic demand in the Middle Kingdom, an additional threat of an export freeze lurks due to the trade war between China and the USA.
Politicians have known about these bottlenecks for quite some time already. In 2011 there was a supply crisis with rare earth metals due to a limitation of export volumes. The industry is on the move. Volkswagen AG plans to roll out a network of 6 gigafactories in Europe by 2030 to ensure battery supplies. However, this does not yet solve where the raw material lithium is actually supposed to come from outside China.
Targets "Down Under"
SunMirror AG, a Swiss multi-asset manager, is betting on the strongest long-term growth drivers from new technologies, such as the renewable energy sector and the electrification of transportation. In addition to gold, the company, which trades on the Direct Market in Vienna and Düsseldorf, is betting on rare earth metals. The current focus is in Western Australia, in the mining centers of Kingston and Mount Keith, which have a history of high-grade gold mining. In addition to high-grade discoveries with over 18,900 ounces of gold and an average of 30 grams per tonne, a high lithium grade has been identified in the past.
The portfolio currently consists of three properties: the Moolyella Project (lithium, tin), the Kingston Keith Project (gold and nickel) and the Cape Lambert Project (iron ore). The foundation for the portfolio expansion was laid earlier this month with the issuance of a USD 10 million convertible bond that matures on May 30, 2022. The analysts at Sphene Capital recently gave SunMirror AG a buy rating and set the price target at EUR 174.30. The experts see an upside, among other things, in a possible trade sale of the most promising project, Cape Lambert South, to a strategic investor. Currently, the share is quoted at EUR 143.00. The stock market value is EUR 286 million.
Market participants reacted to Aixtron AG's figures with a share price drop of up to 10%. Although revenues climbed by around one-fifth year-on-year to just under EUR 50 million, analysts had expected significantly more. The EBIT, which was even in negative territory at minus EUR 0.7 million, was also unable to appease the experts, who were expecting black figures. On the other hand, net income was in positive territory at EUR 3.8 million, but only due to the capitalization of deferred taxes. There was also a setback to report at the subsidiary Apeva. Further talks with a major customer, which according to the Company, is one of the world's largest display manufacturers, were put on hold.
Despite the unpleasant market reaction, the new CEO, Felix Grawert, has a positive outlook on the future: "Customer demand for our systems is gratifyingly high - across all three application areas of power electronics, optoelectronics and LEDs." We currently advise against an investment.
Expansion to Sweden
The shares of Danish hydrogen specialist Everfuel reacted to the roll-out in Sweden with price jumps in the past two trading days. Everfuel, which was created from a spin-off of the Norwegian parent Company Nel ASA, plans to set up 15 hydrogen filling stations across Sweden by the end of 2023. The plan covers the second strand of Everfuel's Scandinavian green hydrogen refueling strategy, after Norway.
The main transport corridors between Norway, Sweden and Denmark, are to be developed for hydrogen mobility. Parent Company Nel ASA will supply the infrastructure. Despite the short-term price increase of almost 15% since the lows, we refrain from investing in the very narrow market share.