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June 25th, 2024 | 08:30 CEST

Shaping the future of energy: Plug Power, Saturn Oil + Gas, and SMA Solar in focus

  • Mining
  • Oil
  • renewableenergies
  • Solar
  • Energy
Photo credits: pixabay.com

The European Commission has launched a hydrogen bank to reduce harmful emissions in Europe. Financial incentives are being used to finance hydrogen projects worth hundreds of millions. Plug Power can score points with its knowledge advantage and secured a 25-megawatt deal for its electrolyser systems with a company in the EU. However, fossil fuels remain an essential part of the global economic infrastructure. Saturn Oil & Gas is pleased to announce the completion of a fresh acquisition in southern Saskatchewan, Canada. Investors, in turn, are pleased with the Company's liquidity and further debt reduction. Investors in SMA Solar AG are less pleased. Following a profit warning, the share price plummeted, and analysts are disgruntled. Does this mark the end for the German solar industry? Chinese companies are still gaining ground. Where is it worth investing?

time to read: 6 minutes | Author: Juliane Zielonka
ISIN: PLUG POWER INC. DL-_01 | US72919P2020 , Saturn Oil + Gas Inc. | CA80412L8832 , SMA SOLAR TECHNOL.AG | DE000A0DJ6J9

Table of contents:


    Dr. Thomas Gutschlag, CEO, Deutsche Rohstoff AG
    "[...] 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

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    Plug Power focuses on Europe: Major order for green hydrogen

    Green hydrogen is a relatively new energy source compared to traditional fossil fuels and is 100% emissions-free. The US company Plug Power has built up enormous expertise in this area in recent years and is now expanding into Europe. The Company has received an order there for 25 megawatts (MW) of proton exchange membrane (PEM) electrolyser systems. The plants will now be delivered and constructed in Europe.

    By producing green hydrogen locally, companies can reduce their dependence on imported fossil fuels. This increases both their own energy security for production and stability, as the risk of geopolitical tensions has less impact on their own energy supply. Plug's partnership with the European company, whose name is not yet known, is geared towards continuous expansion. The 25 MW marks the first milestone towards a hydrogen energy source of up to 2 gigawatts.

    "The selection of Plug's technology for this project is a clear example of our established industry expertise and proven technology," explains Plug CEO Andy Marsh. To accelerate the transition to green hydrogen, the European Commission has set up a Hydrogen Bank. The Hydrogen Bank promotes private investment in hydrogen value chains and links renewable energy supply to EU demand. It creates an initial market for renewable hydrogen with new growth opportunities and jobs. The first EU-wide call for proposals has awarded almost EUR 720 million to seven renewable hydrogen projects across Europe under the Innovation Fund.

    The selected projects must start producing renewable hydrogen within a maximum of 5 years after signing the funding contract. They will receive a fixed premium for certified and verified renewable hydrogen production for up to 10 years. Thanks to Plug's knowledge advantage, these are good prospects for Plug to find further business partners. The term "Green Deal" takes on a whole new dimension when private industry and EU funding meet.

    Plug is currently working on a 100 MW PEM electrolyser project with the Portuguese oil and gas company Galp and is using several 5 MW electrolyser systems in glass production, aluminium recycling, and steel production.

    Saturn Oil & Gas buys oil and gas assets in Saskatchewan from Crescent Point Energy for USD 438.4 million

    Canadian oil and gas company Saturn has successfully completed the sale of non-core assets in Saskatchewan for CAD 600 million, including closing adjustments of approximately CAD 540 million. This transaction strengthens the Company's balance sheet.

    The acquisition includes two separate asset packages: the Battrum assets in southwest Saskatchewan and the Flat Lake assets in southeast Saskatchewan. These acquisitions fit well with Saturn's strategy of identifying and acquiring high-quality assets in the oil industry, all of which have one thing in common: long-term, accretive development potential.

    The acquisition is being financed through a USD 625 million debt commitment from Goldman Sachs, which replaces Saturn's existing secured senior term loan. In addition, there is a bought deal subscription receipted financing with gross proceeds of approximately CAD 100 million and a CAD 150 million reserve-based credit facility from the National Bank of Canada. Saturn is not only flush with oil, but also with liquidity.

    "Saturn will continue to focus on generating high returns on invested capital and maximizing free cash flow from our high oil, low decline assets in Saskatchewan and Alberta," said CEO John Jeffrey of the deal. The enhanced free cash flow following this acquisition will be used to repay the bonds in accordance with the planned 10% annual amortization schedule (payable quarterly). This also caps smaller strategic acquisitions. Saturn intends to implement a return to shareholders model, including both dividends and share buybacks, as part of its debt reduction. This is subject to the approval of the Toronto Stock Exchange and Saturn's Board of Directors.

    After profit warning: Investors punish SMA Solar

    The tide has turned: dark clouds are gathering over SMA Solar. Following the profit warning, the share price plummeted by 30% to EUR 28.74. For 2024, SMA Solar Technology AG now expects revenue of between EUR 1.55 billion and EUR 1.7 billion, in contrast to the previously forecast EUR 1.95 billion to EUR 2.2 billion. Operating earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortization (EBITDA) are expected to be in the range of EUR 80 million to EUR 130 million instead of the previously expected EUR 220 million to EUR 290 million.

    The Company attributes the revised forecast to market volatility and high inventory levels at distributors and installers. This is having an impact on incoming orders in the Home Solutions and Commercial & Industrial Solutions segments. In addition, there are uncertainties due to the upcoming European elections and elections in the US. Investors reacted with sell-offs. Apparently, SMA Solar only recognizes sources of error in the environment instead of coming clean and realizing how badly they have disappointed analysts and investors. According to SMA, the Large Projects and Solutions segment continues to develop as expected. The Managing Board remains confident that both revenue and EBITDA for the year as a whole will increase significantly compared to the previous year.

    In 2022, the SMA Solar share was in high demand due to the boom phase in renewable energies and was one of the top performers on the SDAX, to which it still belonged at the time, with an increase of almost 80% by the end of the year. The positive sentiment continued until mid-2023, thanks to several higher annual targets, with the share ultimately rising to a record high of EUR 112.70 at the beginning of July. Those days are now over. At the same time, **Jefferies analyst Constantin Hesse negatively emphasized the extent of the lowered operating earnings target, which is a good 50% below the market consensus. He even fears that SMA Solar's home business will make losses again for the first time since 2018.


    Plug Power continues to expand into Europe and can look forward to a fresh deal with a company there. The first milestone is the construction of 5 PEM electrolysis systems that will produce a total of 25 MW. The ultimate goal is a 2 GW plant. Saturn Oil & Gas is strengthening its position in the Canadian energy sector through the strategic acquisition of additional oil and gas assets in Saskatchewan. CEO John Jeffrey emphasizes the focus on high returns on capital and free cash flow from the oil-bearing assets in Saskatchewan and Alberta. Saturn plans to push ahead with debt reduction. SMA Solar shares were once an investor favourite in the booming renewable energy sector. Following the current profit warning, it slumped by 30%. Analysts such as Constantin Hesse emphasize that the lowered operating profit target is far below market expectations and harbors uncertainties for the home business. Three companies from three different energy production sectors. Investors should bear in mind that oil and gas, unlike renewable energy sources such as wind and solar, stand for a continuous energy supply. Electricity grids in Europe are not yet geared towards storing renewable energies. Their conversion may take years, even if the EU Commission supports new markets with financial incentives. As long as there is a demand for oil and gas on this planet, companies like Saturn will continue to be indispensable.


    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

    Juliane Zielonka

    Born in Bielefeld, she studied German, English and psychology. The emergence of the Internet in the early '90s led her from university to training in graphic design and marketing communications. After years of agency work in corporate branding, she switched to publishing and learned her editorial craft at Hubert Burda Media.

    About the author



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