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October 17th, 2023 | 07:55 CEST

Varta, First Phosphate, Volkswagen AG - Great opportunities in bombed-out sectors

  • Mining
  • phosphate
  • renewableenergies
  • Energy
  • Batteries
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The current environment with a weak economy, fears of recession and continued high inflation is causing problems for capital-intensive companies in the renewable energy sector. Even the raw materials required for this sector have significantly deviated from their all-time highs achieved in 2021. However, there is no question that the future belongs to this sector. More important than ever for investors, however, is active stock picking.

time to read: 3 minutes | Author: Stefan Feulner

Table of contents:

    Waiting for the Varta figures

    On November 14, things will get serious for the crisis-ridden battery manufacturer from Ellwangen. Varta will present its third-quarter results then. As reported in the half-year figures, the second six months of the year should go better than the first half. For the full year, EUR 900 million has been estimated so far.

    CEO Markus Hackstein confirmed in a recent interview with "Handelsblatt" that the restructuring process will not be completed overnight. The traditional German company is facing headwinds from low-cost competition from Asia, a slump in demand due to consumer restraint, and high energy and material costs. "We are in the midst of a restructuring process that will continue for several years," said the Varta CEO. The reduction of around 800 jobs globally, which will be completed next year, is expected to help mitigate some of the high losses incurred last year.

    According to the Company leader, losses are likely to be incurred this year as well, but the magnitude of these losses has not yet been communicated. From a chart-technical point of view, the situation of the Varta share remains delicate. A slide below the level of the interim low at EUR 16.75 would open the door wide to new annual lows from the beginning of June at EUR 13.82.

    First Phosphate - Playing a significant role in the battery industry

    The Canadian company is becoming increasingly important in terms of resource independence from countries like Russia and China, as evidenced by the expression of interest from the Export-Import Bank of the United States. The aim is to provide financing of up to USD 170 million to the mineral development company, which focuses on the extraction and purification of phosphate for the production of active cathode material for the lithium iron phosphate battery industry. In this regard, the letter of interest supports the procurement of US goods and services by First Phosphate in Canada. However, it does not represent a financial commitment at this stage. The bank must conduct its standard due diligence before giving a final "go" for this transaction. Access to this government-backed financing would include a significant expansion of projects. In addition, stable debt financing could protect existing shareholders from dilution.

    First Phosphate's plan involves integrating directly from the production facility into the supply chains of major North American LFP battery manufacturers requiring high-quality active battery-grade LFP cathode material. First Phosphate owns more than 1,500 sq km of land rights in the Saguenay-Lac-St-Jean region of Quebec. The property contains rare anorthosite igneous phosphate rock that provides high-quality phosphate material without elevated concentrations of harmful elements. This material is expected to be processed into high-purity battery-grade phosphoric acid through a series of processing steps.

    Thanks to a positive news flow in recent months, the stock has increased nearly 37% to CAD 0.35 from its yearly lows since mid-September. If the resistance level of CAD 0.40 is overcome, there would be a short-term potential of around 50% to the next resistance at CAD 0.55.

    Volkswagen AG - Purchasing restraint noticeable

    The third-quarter sales figures show growth in the electric vehicle segment for Volkswagen, but it is not the boom the industry anticipated at the beginning of the decade. Although the Wolfsburg-based company delivered 209,900 units, 40.5% more than in the same quarter of the previous year, there was still a noticeable reluctance to buy, especially e-cars. Volkswagen's share of electric vehicles in total deliveries rose to 7.9% from 7.4% in the previous quarter. The Company said the growth came mainly from a large backlog of orders from 2022.

    In the first nine months, the Lower Saxony-based group delivered 531,500 battery-powered units. Europe accounted for 64% of the Group's deliveries, followed by China with 22%, North America with 10% and 4% from other markets. Sales in the domestic market increased by 61% and North America by a still satisfactory 74%. In China, Volkswagen achieved growth of only 4% to a still low level of 117,100 electric vehicles. Audi sales chief Hildegard Wortmann, who is also responsible for the division within the Group as a whole, commented: "As the general market trend is below expectations, however, our order intake is below our ambitious targets."

    Following the delivery figures, the Canadian bank RBC expressed its views. According to the report, Volkswagen's delivery figures in the European sales market had declined compared to the second quarter, while they had risen sharply for the year as a whole. Analyst Tom Narayan thus reiterated the investment rating "outperform" and the price target of EUR 160.

    In difficult stock market phases like these, active stock picking is essential. While investors should exercise caution with battery manufacturer Varta, analysts continue to see room for upside at Volkswagen despite the sobering quarterly figures. The expression of interest by the Export-Import Bank of the United States shows the importance of First Phosphate for the North American battery industry.

    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.

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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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