February 28th, 2022 | 10:33 CET
Shake-up in the auto industry - who loses, who benefits: Porsche, Altech Advanced Materials, Volkswagen
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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
Porsche IPO: Only winners?
Porsche Automobil Holding has been listed on the stock exchange for a long time. After a Porsche IPO, the holding Company would acquire 25% plus one share in Dr. Ing. h.c. F. Porsche AG, which contains Porsche's operating business. Volkswagen intends to invest the funds raised in the IPO, which could take place before the end of this year, in its future. However, Volkswagen and Porsche emphasize that both companies will continue to work closely together in the future - synergies pay off and should remain.
Volkswagen shareholders can nevertheless look forward to a windfall: around 49% of the proceeds from the IPO are to flow to Volkswagen shareholders in the form of a special dividend. If you believe the voices from the Group and the investment community, the upcoming deal only knows winners. Volkswagen will raise capital for investments and leverage previously dormant assets that will become more visible when Porsche shares are listed. According to analysts, Porsche will become more flexible but will still not lose its position in the middle of the VW empire. Even VW's major shareholder, Lower Saxony, indicated its approval in the person of Minister-President Stephan Weil.
Which VW divisions will follow on the stock exchange?
In the slipstream of the Porsche IPO, Volkswagen could also take its battery business, which the Group has successfully built up in recent years, public. The software subsidiary CARIAD is also repeatedly mentioned in the course of such speculation. However, Porsche's IPO is likely to take priority for the time being. In the long term, however, IPOs of this kind offer great opportunities for Volkswagen. On the one hand, the size of the Group becomes more visible in this way, and, on the other, such steps raise potential or open up the opportunity for additional business.
For example, an independent battery division could also act as a supplier for other automakers. Small, powerful units that also do business outside the VW cosmos could also make greater technological progress, initiate new business or buy from smaller companies. Large corporations like Daimler and Volkswagen often have a reputation for not wanting to go out on a limb too quickly when it comes to innovations - avoiding mistakes is a prerequisite for a corporate career. However, there are also numerous smaller companies in Germany that score points with innovative technology and are already anticipating upcoming developments in batteries for e-cars.
Altech Advanced Materials: Technology for the battery price war
The Heidelberg-based Company Altech Advanced Materials wants to make batteries for e-cars cheaper, more durable and safer. To do so, the Company is using its coating technology. "We have successfully developed a process to coat anode material very thinly with aluminum oxide, i.e., ceramically. We expect this to increase safety and boost battery performance and service life," Uwe Ahrens, director of Altech, said in an interview a few weeks ago. The Company is transferring a technology it is familiar with to the field of electromobility and is convinced that it can implement its processes in an industrially applicable and also scalable manner. As an aside, the process reduces dependence on complex supply chains. Altech has been working with partners such as SGL Carbon and announced the construction of a pilot plant a few days ago. With the material obtained there, Altech wants to actively go after customers and also convince companies such as Porsche or Volkswagen of its offer.
If companies such as VW increase their investments in future technology and become more flexible, this can only be advantageous for the entire industry in Germany. The Altech team does not fear competition anyway: "Thanks to our simple processes and the targeted application of our technology, we already have the potential to report the lowest costs. We can also respond to all developments in the industry. This is a good prerequisite for remaining competitive in the long term," says Ahrens. Whether Volkswagen, Porsche or a subsidiary company, whose name is still largely unknown, will come knocking on Altech's door after the changes in the German automotive industry are over is a matter for the future. However, the fact is that the ambitious team will soon be able to demonstrate the benefits of its technology to potential customers. Speculative investors keep the value in mind.
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