February 7th, 2022 | 11:31 CET
Steinhoff, Meta Materials, QuantumScape - Milestones in development
Table of contents:
Meta Materials - A head start through patents
Metamaterials direct light and heat around objects. Thin grids absorb sound like meter-thick plates. No, we are not in a new science fiction movie from distant galaxies; the technology has already been researched and is ready for commercialization. Based in Dartmouth, Canada, Meta Materials plays a leading role in researching and producing sustainable, highly functional materials. Its comprehensive technology platform enables leading global brands to deliver breakthrough products in consumer electronics, 5G communications, health and wellness, aerospace, automotive and clean energy. In addition, nano-optical technology from Nanotech Security, acquired last year, provides anti-counterfeiting security features for government documents and currency, as well as brand authentication.
By expanding its patent portfolio, Meta Materials, named Lux Research Innovator of the Year 2021, has further extended its competitive edge. In total, the Canadians own 247 patents in 65 patent families. The total number of patents has expanded by 166% from 93 in 2020. The number of patent families doubled compared to the same period last year. The Company recently announced that it had joined the Laser Scanning for Augmented Reality Alliance, a membership program of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers Industry Standards and Technology Organization. IEEE is the world's largest technical professional organization dedicated to advancing technology for the benefit of humanity.
With a market capitalization of EUR 415.67 million, the Company operates in an innovative growth market and is expected to benefit significantly due to increasing demand for new materials. On February 17, CEO George Palikaras will participate in the International Investment Forum (IIF) and provide more detailed insights on the Company. Interested parties can register free of charge at ii-forum.com.
QuantumScape - Development moves forward
They are considered the next generation of rechargeable batteries and are expected to replace the lithium-ion battery in mobility: Solid-state batteries are said to enable fast charging and double the ranges of e-cars. Today, they are already considered even safer, more durable and more reliable than conventional lithium-ion batteries. Research into the solid-state battery is in full swing, with Volkswagen already increasing its investment in US battery specialist QuantumScape by an additional USD 200 million last year.
The share price of the US company experienced a rollercoaster ride last year. After peaks of USD 132.73 and a market capitalization of almost USD 50 billion, the share price fell by 40% within a few days after Apple denied rumors that it was relying on QuantumScape's expertise for the Titan project, a self-driving electric car. The share is currently trading at USD 16.42, a further drop to the USD 11.50 range would not be improbable, but in the medium term, the value should become interesting.
The US company recently reported data showing that its lithium metal solid-state battery cells retained more than 80% of their initial energy after 400 cycles of 15-minute fast charging. For comparison purposes, the Company said it had tested "battery cells from a commercial third-party electric vehicle" using the same protocol. These cells had "rapidly degraded after only a few dozen charge cycles."
Steinhoff International - Onwards and upwards!
The settlement reached with the creditors is already a thing of the past; the only thing at stake is the bare survival and debt relief of the still highly indebted retail group. Almost weekly, new announcements flicker across the ticker that are supposed to help reduce the horrendous debt level of around EUR 9.8 billion. "We have to reduce the absolute value of the debt, so we will have to sell more assets," Chief Financial Officer Theodore de Klerk said in an interview. "The amount is simply too high to restructure in its current form."
The most recent news concerns subsidiary Pepkor Holding, listed on the Johannesburg Stock Exchange in South Africa. It will take over the Brazilian retailer Avenida on February 4, 2022, expanding the retail group into Latin America. A specific purchase price for the Avenida shares was not disclosed. The transaction represents less than 4% of Pepkor's market capitalization, the Company said. Even after the settlement, an investment in Steinhoff resembles a gamble.
The development of metamaterials could set new standards in the field of materials management. With a diversified product portfolio, Meta Materials has a research edge and should benefit from the rising demand. Steinhoff is battling a high debt and interest burden and remains a high-risk investment. QuantumScape is promising in the long term and should not be missing from any watch list.
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