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February 5th, 2024 | 07:30 CET

Nikola, First Hydrogen, Nel ASA - Upheavals create enormous potential

  • Hydrogen
  • renewableenergies
  • Batteries
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After the hype in the hydrogen sector at the beginning of the decade, in which companies such as Plug Power, Nel ASA and others rose to crazy valuation levels, a phase of calming and normalization followed. In retrospect, it was no surprise that these stocks lost over 90% of their value. Nevertheless, the hydrogen fuel cell sector is on the move. New players are entering the market whose innovations could knock the top dogs off their thrones. However, there is no doubt that this sector has a bright future due to climate change.

time to read: 4 minutes | Author: Stefan Feulner

Table of contents:

    Dirk Graszt, CEO, Clean Logistics SE
    "[...] We can convert buses and trucks to be completely climate neutral. In doing so, we take a modular and incremental approach. That means we can work with all current vehicle types and respond to new technology and innovation [...]" Dirk Graszt, CEO, Clean Logistics SE

    Full interview


    Nikola - The next attempt

    One thing has to be said for the Phoenix-based manufacturer of hybrid trucks. Despite all the setbacks, Nikola is not giving up the fight for a glorious hydrogen future. After the management shake-up, with former General Motors Vice Chairman Stephen Girsky taking over as CEO in August last year, many analysts see considerable upside potential.

    Baird analyst Ben Kallo recently initiated coverage with an "outperform" rating and a price target of USD 2. He believes the US company would benefit enormously from a growing market for zero-emission trucks. In addition, Nikola has finally found the right management to take a step towards commercialization.

    Kallo believes that Nikola's design and software will give the Company an advantage over traditional diesel vehicles in the future. "We see potential catalysts for both the truck and energy businesses in the form of production improvements, customer and partnership announcements and the expansion of hydrogen infrastructure," the financial expert said in a CNBC interview.

    Nevertheless, the current share price of USD 0.73 poses a risk of delisting, as the share price has remained below the USD 1 threshold for more than 30 days. This is the second delisting warning issued by Nasdaq in the last 8 months.

    First Hydrogen - Revolutionary tests continue

    The hydrogen specialist based in Vancouver, London and Montréal does not need to be restructured, nor does the top management team around CEO Balraj Mann, which includes specialists from the industry, need to be renewed. First Hydrogen is pursuing its 2021 goal of becoming the leading designer and manufacturer of long-range, zero-emission, hydrogen-powered vehicles in the UK, the EU and North America.

    The first test drives with the light commercial vehicles developed in collaboration with industry leaders AVL Powertrain and Ballard Power exceeded expectations. The prototype achieved a record range of 630 km on a single tank. Comparable light commercial vehicles with electric drive achieved just 240 km. Further top values were also achieved in the extremely low average consumption of 1.58 kg of hydrogen per 100 km, even at consistently high speeds.

    With the gas network operator Wales & West Utilities, which operates 1,300 fleet vehicles and supplies more than 7.5 million customers with gas, the hydrogen-powered light commercial vehicles will be tested under real road conditions in Wales and the South West of England.

    The new test run, which will last at least four weeks, will be a first. Until now, First Hydrogen's test runs have taken place near existing hydrogen filling stations. In the following test, areas lacking refuelling infrastructure will be approached, whereby the mobile refuelling system from Hyppo Hydrogen Solutions and the green H2 fuel from Protium Green Solutions will be used. This will allow Wales & West Utilities to refuel the test vehicle near the depot in Swansea without having to visit a public filling station.

    The First Hydrogen share has escaped the negative stock market sentiment for hydrogen and fuel cell shares in recent months and is forming a stable floor in the CAD 1.60 range. If the positive news flow continues, the stock should move further away from its lows from 2023.

    Nel Asa - Realignment causes share price to jump

    As described above, the new goals set by Nikola's management are on track. This also includes the restructuring of the customer relationship with the Norwegian hydrogen specialist Nel Asa, which has also been facing a falling share price for months.

    Both companies recently decided to terminate their previous supply agreement, which included components for a fuel cell system and hydrogen filling stations in addition to electrolyser equipment. Instead, they are focusing on a new agreement to supply 110 alkaline stacks and the corresponding balance-of-stack equipment. As part of this realignment, Nikola will pay Nel ASA approximately USD 9 million in compensation, as announced by Nel ASA.

    Included in this strategic realignment is Fortescue's acquisition of the Phoenix Hydrogen Hub from Nikola, which involves the installation of 80 MW of electrolyser equipment previously supplied by Nel to Nikola. For the update of warranties and guarantees, as well as adjustments in the scope of delivery, Nel ASA will receive approximately USD 11 million from Fortescue.

    Håkon Volldal, President and CEO of Nel ASA, emphasized his satisfaction with the new agreement with Nikola, which now better reflects the strategic direction. Nel is also pleased with the cooperation with Fortescue on the Phoenix Hydrogen Hub project, as Fortescue is a committed and reliable partner. In the wake of the announcement, the Norwegian share recovered from its lows of EUR 0.46 to EUR 0.58. However, this was followed by another sell-off towards USD 0.50. The stock is still far from experiencing a brightening of the chart pattern.

    Nikola is realigning itself, enabling analysts to identify considerable upside potential. This also includes the rewriting of the cooperation with Nel ASA, which was positively received by the stock market. Meanwhile, First Hydrogen is testing a revolution using a mobile refuelling system with another major partner.

    Conflict of interest

    Pursuant to §85 of the German Securities Trading Act (WpHG), we point out that Apaton Finance GmbH as well as partners, authors or employees of Apaton Finance GmbH (hereinafter referred to as "Relevant Persons") may hold shares or other financial instruments of the aforementioned companies in the future or may bet on rising or falling prices and thus a conflict of interest may arise in the future. The Relevant Persons reserve the right to buy or sell shares or other financial instruments of the Company at any time (hereinafter each a "Transaction"). Transactions may, under certain circumstances, influence the respective price of the shares or other financial instruments of the Company.

    In addition, Apaton Finance GmbH is active in the context of the preparation and publication of the reporting in paid contractual relationships.

    For this reason, there is a concrete conflict of interest.

    The above information on existing conflicts of interest applies to all types and forms of publication used by Apaton Finance GmbH for publications on companies.

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    Der Autor

    Stefan Feulner

    The native Franconian has more than 20 years of stock exchange experience and a broadly diversified network.
    He is passionate about analyzing a wide variety of business models and investigating new trends.

    About the author

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