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February 28th, 2024 | 07:15 CET

Varta Thriller! Altech Advanced Materials, BYD work on the electrification of the future

  • Technology
  • Innovations
  • renewableenergies
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While production at Varta is at a standstill following a cyber attack, the wave of electrification is rolling inexorably through our society, changing how we generate, store and utilize energy. Innovations are needed here, especially in energy storage from renewable sources and the further development of batteries for use in electric vehicles. Advances in electric vehicles and the increasing use of electrical energy are paving the way towards the future. Intensive research is currently being carried out on technologies that will increase both the effectiveness and capacity of battery systems. Altech Advanced Materials and BYD stand out here.

time to read: 5 minutes | Author: Armin Schulz
ISIN: VARTA AG O.N. | DE000A0TGJ55 , ALTECH ADV.MAT. NA O.N. | DE000A31C3Y4 , BYD CO. LTD H YC 1 | CNE100000296

Table of contents:

    Varta - Cyber attack during restructuring

    On February 12, the VARTA Group was the victim of a cyberattack. In response, the Company was forced to temporarily suspend both production and the internet connection of its facilities. According to the Company, the extent of the damage caused cannot yet be estimated. All 5 Varta sites were affected, in Germany as well as in Romania and Indonesia. On February 22, Varta published an update on the situation - an organized hacker group carried out the attack. A task force is working with IT forensic experts and data analysts on the investigation. It is still not clear how long production will be at a standstill.

    In the meantime, the Company was not even reachable by phone. Warburg Research assumes a loss of sales of EUR 17 to 19 million per week. The attack has hit the Company to the core, as it is currently undergoing an intensive restructuring phase. The extent to which the attack will affect the restructuring is not yet clear. It is also possible that the new cell generation, announced by Varta's CEO for the first half of 2024, will be postponed. According to rumors, this development could be an opportunity to partially regain Apple as a customer.

    The Company had recently cut costs, and plans for a gigafactory for car batteries were put on hold. 800 jobs have been cut, and management is making every effort to steer the Company back into calmer waters. The loss of production should be at least largely covered by business interruption insurance. We will have to wait for further company announcements. The fact remains that digital security for companies is more important than ever and deserves more attention. The share price has fallen due to the bad news and is currently trading at EUR 14.99.

    Altech Advanced Materials - Groundbreaking innovations

    In the world of electromobility and energy storage, Altech Advanced Materials could bring about significant changes with its innovations in solid-state batteries and Silumina Anodes. In the latter, Altech is relying on silicon to overcome the limitations of conventional battery technologies. With silicon as the anode material, which offers ten times the capacity of traditional graphite, the batteries of the future could not only become more cost-effective but also more powerful. This approach promises rapid charging and significantly increased energy density, two critical factors that could accelerate the global adoption of electric vehicles (EVs). This is made possible by a ceramic nano-coating that protects the silicon particles while preventing damage to the battery.

    In December, the Company published the results of the final feasibility study for the planned Silumina Anodes plant in Schwarze Pumpe, Saxony. The plant is expected to produce 8,000 tons annually and generate a projected EBITDA of EUR 105 million annually. As it is a drop-in technology, all battery manufacturers are potential customers. The second product is the CERENERGY® battery, a ceramic solid-state battery developed in collaboration with the Fraunhofer Institute. It is based on a saline solution and is completely free of critical raw materials. This battery is unique in that it requires neither cooling nor heating systems, is completely fireproof, has an operating life of over 15 years and is fully recyclable at the end of its life cycle.

    It is, therefore, the ideal energy storage system for stationary use and can store surplus electricity from renewable energies for later use. A production facility is to be built this year. The electricity storage market is growing rapidly and is expected to grow by around 26% annually by 2030. Those who would like to find out more about the Company should take a look at the presentation by CEO Uwe Ahrens from the 10th International Investment Forum on February 21. The share is currently trading at EUR 6.05 and thus below the price of EUR 7.50 of the last capital increase.

    BYD - Aiming to develop a solid-state battery

    BYD's blade batteries are currently considered the benchmark for electric cars. Even Tesla is rumored to have already installed these batteries in its vehicles. However, the Company does not want to rest on its laurels. Now that the competition around Toyota is trying to develop a solid-state battery that offers shorter charging times and greater range and safety, the Chinese industry leader is launching a counterattack. Together with CATL, Nio and others, BYD aims to jointly develop a solid-state battery ready for mass production. Whoever is the first to bring the next generation of batteries for electric vehicles to series production will have a significant competitive advantage.

    In China, the electric vehicle has already begun its triumphal march. By the end of 2023, 35% of all cars sold were electric. BYD CEO Wang Chuanfu even expects that the mark could reach 50% before the end of this year. BYD is now the market leader in China and wants to maintain its growth through internationalization. In order to avoid punitive tariffs in the US and Europe, the car manufacturer is planning plants in Hungary and Mexico. The latter is a clever move to avoid punitive tariffs. However, there are no definite plans yet. Instead, the first BYD car freighter landed in Bremerhaven and unloaded 3,000 electric vehicles.

    According to Wirtschaftswoche, 200 of these ships are expected to be built by 2026. This would be enough to supply the entire world with electric vehicles. BYD recently launched affordable models on the market, some of which are priced even below traditional combustion engine vehicles. This strategy could make the entry into electromobility more appealing to consumers. The announced share buyback program of CYN 400 million, which corresponds to around EUR 51 million, is good news for shareholders. The share reacted positively to the announcement and formed an initial upward trend, which will only be broken at closing prices below EUR 21.50. One share is currently trading at EUR 23.72.

    Further innovations are needed for a major breakthrough. There has been too little from Varta in this area recently, causing the share price to slump. The cyberattack is causing additional uncertainty. The situation is different at Altech Advanced Materials. The Company has exciting new developments to show, both for car batteries and in the field of energy storage. As soon as production starts, the share will have to be revalued. BYD is also not resting on its laurels but is trying to remain the leader in the field of car batteries. To this end, the Company is even joining forces with its competitors.

    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

    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

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