Close menu

May 22nd, 2023 | 09:30 CEST

Varta, Altech Advanced Materials, Volkswagen - The battle for the battery of the future

  • Batteries
  • Electromobility
  • renewableenergies
Photo credits:

The energy transition will not succeed without batteries, and electromobility cannot be implemented without them either. South Korea plans to invest USD 15 billion in the development of solid-state batteries for electric vehicles by 2030 in order to secure a long-term competitive advantage in the global market for electric vehicles. China is already the pioneer in electric cars and batteries for these vehicles. Experts in the American automotive industry fear a dependence on China for batteries and their raw materials. Since the automotive industry has embraced electromobility and the energy transition is being pushed forward faster, the field of battery development has become tremendously important. Therefore, today we will look at three companies dealing with this issue.

time to read: 5 minutes | Author: Armin Schulz
ISIN: VARTA AG O.N. | DE000A0TGJ55 , Altech Advanced Materials AG | DE000A31C3Y4 , VOLKSWAGEN AG VZO O.N. | DE0007664039

Table of contents:

    Terry Lynch, CEO, Power Nickel
    "[...] The collaboration with CVMR offers two primary advantages for Power Nickel: We can cover a larger portion of the value chain in the future, and despite the extensive cooperation with all its positive outcomes, we have remained significantly independent. [...]" Terry Lynch, CEO, Power Nickel

    Full interview


    Varta - Disappointing Q1 figures

    For several years, Varta was the flagship battery company from Germany. In the field of button cells, it was the global leader, and Apple also relied on "Made in Germany" for its AirPods. With V4Drive, the German company aimed to create the next bestseller, but as it stands now, the division that was supposed to benefit from the growing electromobility has yet to take off. Profit warnings followed in 2022 due to customer reticence, and costs rose. Now the Company is facing another turnaround.

    In mid-May, the results for the 1st quarter were published. Due to weak consumer demand, especially in the Lithium-Ion Coin Power (LCP) and Microbattery (MB) segments, this declined. Higher restructuring and financing costs further worsened profitability. Sales fell by 11% to EUR 164 million, with LCP sales down 92% and MB sales down 21%. Significant growth was recorded in the Energy Storage Systems segment. Adjusted EBITDA was a loss of EUR 2 million.

    Whether the new CFO Marc Hundsdorf can turn things around remains to be seen. A total of 800 full-time positions are to be cut. Nevertheless, rising purchase prices, sustainability pressures, higher financing costs and increased competition from Asia are weighing on the return to profitability. After the quarterly figures, the share marked a new low for the year at EUR 18.485. On Friday, the share exited Xetra trading at EUR 18.98. The analysts at Warburg recently issued a sell recommendation with a price target of EUR 15.50.

    Altech Advanced Materials - CERENERGY prototypes under construction

    Altech Advanced Materials has two hot irons in the fire to profit from the rapidly growing battery and energy storage markets. Together with the Fraunhofer Institute, they have developed the CERENERGY battery, a solid-state sodium-aluminium oxide battery. It is expected to revolutionize the energy storage market, as the battery is safer, longer lasting and more weatherproof than current lithium-ion energy storage systems and significantly cheaper to manufacture. On May 11, the Company announced that it had started production of 2 prototypes of the 60 KWh CERENERGY battery. After completion, a test under extreme conditions is planned, and industrial customers will then be able to try out the energy storage units.

    The second pillar is the development of a method for the cost-effective coating of the anode material of a battery with high-purity aluminium oxide in the nanometre range, which increases both the performance by about 10% and the service life by 30%. Both graphite and silicon coating are possible. Especially the latter has a lot of potential because silicon has a higher energy storage capacity than graphite, and therefore many manufacturers try to use silicon in their batteries. The results of the profitability study assume annual sales of EUR 153 million at costs of EUR 101 million with a production capacity of 10,000 tons of silicon, which is to be marketed under the name "Silumina Anodes".

    The construction of the first test facility next to the planned production plant is already underway. By the end of the year, about 120 kg of Silumina Anodes should be available for testing purposes and certification of the product by battery and car manufacturers. As the material does not cause any changes to the battery, the customer base in the lithium-ion battery environment is practically unlimited. These prospects have boosted the share enormously since the beginning of the year, and it went from EUR 3.74 to EUR 12.80 at the peak. Since that day, the share has been in a sideways phase from EUR 10.10 to EUR 12.80 and is currently trading at EUR 10.20. More information can be found at

    Volkswagen - Yield to increase

    For a long time, the Volkswagen Group was No. 1 in the Chinese car market. After the 1st quarter, the Wolfsburg-based company had to cede this position to BYD. Even though Volkswagen committed itself to electric mobility at an early stage, the transformation from a manufacturer of combustion vehicles to electric vehicles has been challenging. While BYD saw a 68% increase in sales in the first three months compared to the previous year, VW experienced a 14% decline. Due to recurring software issues in electric vehicles, the management of that division was replaced. The new CEO of VW, Blume, is now planning a performance program to optimize profitability.

    According to Spiegel, a second battery factory will probably not be built in Germany. The reason is that electricity prices in Germany are too high. Industry is currently paying 13 cents per kilowatt hour; costs would have to fall by about 50% to be competitive. This means that the plant in Salzgitter will likely remain the only one in Germany. A 2nd plant is being built in Spain, and there are efforts to build a 3rd plant in Eastern Europe. Speaking of Eastern Europe, the group has sold its plant in Russia to the financial investor Art-Finance LLC and the Russian Avilon. There, 225,000 vehicles could be produced per year.

    It is not yet clear how the return on investment is to be raised from the current 3% to 6.5%. The Company wants to save billions in order to remain competitive. By comparison, Tesla has a double-digit return on sales. There will be no job cuts in Wolfsburg because of a job guarantee until 2029. After testing the support zone at EUR 115, the share has moved up again and is currently trading at EUR 120.20. In May, there were 5 buy recommendations for the share with price targets between EUR 160 and EUR 235. Only Jeffries recommends selling with a price target of EUR 115.

    The energy transition and especially electromobility pose significant challenges for well-established companies, especially considering that electricity costs in Germany are much higher compared to international standards. This can be seen in the case of Varta, whose margins have recently melted away. Combined with an evident reluctance to buy on the part of customers, this is a dangerous mix. Altech Advanced Materials, on the other hand, is benefiting from growth and has occupied two exciting business areas. It is worth keeping a close eye on whether they will achieve a breakthrough. Volkswagen has to master a transformation. The Company cannot turn around quickly like BYD or Tesla. It will take time.

    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.

    Risk notice

    Apaton Finance GmbH offers editors, agencies and companies the opportunity to publish commentaries, interviews, summaries, news and the like on These contents are exclusively for the information of the readers and do not represent any call to action or recommendations, neither explicitly nor implicitly they are to be understood as an assurance of possible price developments. The contents do not replace individual expert investment advice and do not constitute an offer to sell the discussed share(s) or other financial instruments, nor an invitation to buy or sell such.

    The content is expressly not a financial analysis, but a journalistic or advertising text. Readers or users who make investment decisions or carry out transactions on the basis of the information provided here do so entirely at their own risk. No contractual relationship is established between Apaton Finance GmbH and its readers or the users of its offers, as our information only refers to the company and not to the investment decision of the reader or user.

    The acquisition of financial instruments involves high risks, which can lead to the total loss of the invested capital. The information published by Apaton Finance GmbH and its authors is based on careful research. Nevertheless, no liability is assumed for financial losses or a content-related guarantee for the topicality, correctness, appropriateness and completeness of the content provided here. Please also note our Terms of use.

    Der Autor

    Armin Schulz

    Born in Mönchengladbach, he studied business administration in the Netherlands. In the course of his studies he came into contact with the stock exchange for the first time. He has more than 25 years of experience in stock market business.

    About the author

    Related comments:

    Commented by André Will-Laudien on April 18th, 2024 | 07:15 CEST

    Attention Nvidia! The turnaround check for Nel ASA, Saturn Oil + Gas, Lufthansa and TUI

    • Mining
    • Oil
    • AI
    • Travel
    • renewableenergies

    It looks like a peak is forming in Artificial Intelligence. The most prominent share here is Nvidia. With a spectacular rally, the value has surged by over 100% in just 6 months. However, the share price is now stuttering, and there have been no new highs for days. The charts for TUI and Lufthansa also show an upward reversal. The latest wage negotiations have tightened the cost structure considerably. Also, a significant amount of revenue has been lost due to the numerous strikes. And now the Middle East crisis is flaring up, making the entire region a risk for holidaymakers. However, the rise in oil prices is giving oil companies a new lease of life. Here is a list of interesting investments.


    Commented by Juliane Zielonka on April 18th, 2024 | 07:00 CEST

    Volkswagen, Altech Advanced Materials, BYD - who can benefit from China's rise

    • Innovations
    • Technology
    • Electromobility
    • Batteries

    Chinese companies such as BYD benefit from state subsidies and domestic access to raw materials. BYD's subsidies have risen from EUR 220 million in just three years to EUR 2.1 billion. These sums are helping BYD dominate the Chinese electric vehicle market and increasingly penetrate the European market. Volkswagen cannot escape the pull of China either. As part of its "In China, for China" strategy, Volkswagen is expanding its cooperation network with Chinese partners. The aim is to reduce costs significantly in the development of EV technology. For companies like Altech Advanced Materials, close cooperation with Chinese market leaders such as BYD and Volkswagen offers the opportunity to commercialize innovative battery technologies that meet the needs of the changing market. One of these innovations, made in Germany by Altech Advanced Materials, increases the longevity of EV batteries by 30%. Here are the details.


    Commented by Fabian Lorenz on April 16th, 2024 | 07:20 CEST

    Plug Power deeply in the red! Thyssenkrupp Nucera and First Hydrogen shares with positive newsflow and upside potential!

    • Hydrogen
    • greenhydrogen
    • GreenTech
    • renewableenergies

    Not only is Plug Power's share price in the red, but also its earnings for the year 2023. Losses at the US company are still growing faster than revenue. Together with its struggling industry peer, Nel ASA, Plug is dragging down the entire hydrogen sector. However, there are positive developments. For example, the hydrogen-powered fuel cell commercial vehicle from First Hydrogen in England has impressed in test drives under real conditions. The Company is currently valued at only CAD 50 million and offers an entry opportunity. Analysts also see more than 100% upside potential for Thyssekrupp Nucera. Is the wheat separating from the chaff in the hydrogen sector?