January 30th, 2023 | 19:06 CET
Meta Materials, Varta, JinkoSolar - With a technology revolution to new highs
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"[...] Nickel, therefore, benefits twice: firstly from its growing importance within batteries and secondly from the generally growing demand for such storage. [...]" Terry Lynch, CEO, Power Nickel
Meta Materials - Focus on the automotive sector
To start revolutions in different industries, you need disruptive technology. Meta Materials offers high-performance functional materials and nanocomposites (metamaterials) for a wide range of applications. The metamaterials can be assigned unique properties that do not exist in nature. This provides the opportunity to solve current problems in areas such as 5G, aerospace, automotive, biomedical, etc. Right now, the focus is on electromobility, as the sector is expected to grow at double-digit rates in the coming years.
The bottleneck in electric cars lies in the batteries. Today, these are still a hazard in the event of malfunctions. At the same time, they have a high weight and charging often takes too long. Here Meta Materials offers two solutions. The first solution is the so-called NPORE technology. It is a separator based on nano-ceramic films and is said to provide a high level of safety for battery elements by preventing damage due to overheating. The second solution, called PLASMAfusion, enables the weight of copper foil, which currently accounts for over 10% of a battery cell's weight, to be reduced by about 80%, increasing efficiency. At the same time, safety is increased, and costs are reduced. DuPont Teijin Films and Mitsubishi Electric Europe have been working together since November to bring the approach into mass production.
From January 5-8, Meta Materials NANOWEB technology was part of the Project Arrow exhibit at CES 2023, where the project showcased the first completely zero-emission concept vehicle. NANOWEB is a transparent conductive film that enables window de-fogging and de-icing without blocking camera or sensor functions. Anyone interested in learning more about the Company can register free of charge for the International Investment Forum, where the Company will present on February 15. The stock, which was listed at USD 2.34 on the Nasdaq at the beginning of December, lost ground during the tax loss season and is currently trading at USD 1.00.
Varta - Many construction sites
Investors would probably prefer to forget the year 2022 when the share price fell by more than 80%. After a profit warning in July, the annual forecasts were completely suspended. Updated target figures were not presented until November. At EUR 850-820 million, sales will be about 10% lower than in 2021, and EBITDA will shrink from around EUR 283 million to EUR 55-60 million. V4Drive was supposed to open up the field of electromobility and thus generate further growth. But not much has happened since the partnership with Porsche. Perhaps metamaterials could help here.
The Company is currently fighting on many fronts. Competition in the battery market is fierce, and Varta has to contend with significantly higher energy and raw material costs. This puts it at a significant disadvantage compared to its Asian competitors. In addition, inflation and cautious consumer behavior have caused Varta customers to push back projects. The fact is that Varta is still the leader in button cells, but exploding energy costs in Germany are causing higher manufacturing costs that cannot easily be passed on to customers.
At the Nördlingen plant, all 500 employees have been put on short-time work. On May 1, CFO Armin Hessenberger has to hand over his post to Thomas Obendrauf. Obendrauf's specialities are cost reduction and efficiency enhancement. This is also urgently needed, as liquidity is declining and debt is rising. The share saw its preliminary low at EUR 21.60 on December 29. Last Friday, a first slight upward trend was established. The share exited Xetra trading at EUR 28.56. The upward trend remains intact as long as the closing price does not fall below the EUR 25.16 mark.
JinkoSolar - Subsidiary with impressive figures
It would be ideal for the solar industry if the weight of solar panels dropped significantly because then solar cells could be installed on the roofs of electric cars, and the cars could be charged while driving. But that is still a pipe dream. Solar energy has been back in the spotlight, at least since the Ukraine conflict, from which the big player JinkoSolar has benefited. However, the share is lagging behind the competition in terms of valuation. The reason is likely the latent danger of delisting in America.
Operationally, things are looking good, as the announcement from January 20 shows. There, JinkoSolar Holding announced the preliminary unaudited financial results of its Chinese subsidiary Jiangxi Jinko for 2022, with an estimated net income of CNY 2.66 billion to CNY 2.96 billion, representing a YOY increase of 133% to 159%. Things are also progressing in the development area. The 2nd generation of Tiger Neo panels, which are among the most efficient and powerful solar panels in the world, is to be launched. With the increased efficiency of up to 23.23%, performance and reliability have been further improved.
The price of polysilicon is expected to fall further, which could increase margins. Global demand for solar cells is expected to remain high. Overall, the outlook is good for the Group, especially as the current valuation appears attractive. The share has gained around 45% at its peak since the beginning of the year. The downward trend has thus been broken. Currently, the stock is trading at USD 56.21. At the moment, however, we would wait for a more significant setback before entering the market.
With metamaterials, innovative solutions in many application areas are within the realm of possibility. Meta Materials has done pioneering work here and can help megatrends such as electromobility, 5G and many more to break through. However, it still needs time. Varta is no longer growing for the time being. Here, the new CFO should ensure more efficiency and cost reductions. JinkoSolar is still on a growth path. The conditions are good for this to continue in 2023.
Conflict of interest
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