December 1st, 2022 | 13:18 CET
Who builds the best battery? Varta, Altech Advanced Materials, SFC Energy, IBU-tec - The entry is tempting!
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"[...] Internally we expect the resource to significantly grow the deeper we mine. [...]" Dennis Karp, Executive Chairman, Manuka Resources
Born in Munich, he first studied economics and graduated in business administration at the Ludwig-Maximilians-University in 1995. As he was involved with the stock market at a very early stage, he now has more than 30 years of experience in the capital markets.
Varta - The year 2023 should be exciting
In order not to be left behind by China, great efforts are needed in Europe from both the public and private sides to develop the topic of e-mobility quickly. In addition to government subsidy programs for consumers, there is currently still a lack of sufficient funds to take the current battery technology into the next era. What is needed are units that offer safety, a long service life, and a corresponding range. At the same time, the charging process should be as short as possible, which requires not only the availability of green electricity but also sufficient charging stations.
In recent months, Varta has intensified its efforts in the field of V4Drive. However, due to the current environment of raw material shortages and high procurement prices, the economic conditions have recently negatively impacted the Ellwanger's figures. Sales for the year are now expected to be around EUR 100 million lower, with an expected bottom-line loss of up to EUR 60 million. At the beginning of the year, profits of around EUR 200 to 225 million were still being estimated. As uncertainty is currently high, the new battery plant already announced is not to be implemented until there are sufficient binding customer commitments to justify the necessary investments. Irrespective of this, however, the first series production of the V4Drive battery is to start and supply Porsche as the first major customer.
The current consolidation is taking the share price back below EUR 28, where important support lurks until the old development low of EUR 26.66. If the figures recover significantly in 2023/24, a current price/sales ratio of 1.3 is reasonable. However, analysts have recently lowered their earnings expectations for 2022 and 2023.
Altech Advanced Materials - With new ideas to success
In order to cause serious difficulties for Chinese companies such as CATL or BYD, a high level of commitment is needed on the part of Western technology companies. German engineering skills are more in demand than ever, and the challenges of the energy transition are great. At the same time, the industry's protagonists are looking at a rapidly growing market. It is expected to grow from EUR 6.2 billion in 2019 to EUR 10.0 to 11.5 billion in 2022. That is an increase of 29% per annum, according to 3EC Research.
One of the German players has set up shop in the eastern German town of Schwarze Pumpe, relying on the combined expertise of long-standing technology experts in electronics, chemical and materials research. The joint venture was formed in 2022 between Heidelberg-based Altech Advanced Materials, Australian majority owner Altech Chemicals Ltd. and the Fraunhofer Institute for Ceramic Technologies and Systems (IKTS), the leading battery institute in Germany. Altech Advanced Materials owns a calculated share of just under 19% in this joint venture.
Under the SAS CERENERGY label, the joint venture is now taking a run at the still leading lithium-ion market, the current technological battery standard in e-mobility. In initial tests, the new CERENERGY battery systems produced on-site combine various advantages. They have completely different safety standards, as they do not overheat and are neither flammable nor explosive. At the same time, their service life is significantly longer at 15 years, and they function both in extreme heat and in the cold of winter, thus in all climatic zones of the world. The new battery technology uses common salt and small amounts of nickel; the very toxic components of conventional LI-ion cells, such as lithium, cobalt, graphite or copper, are not needed. If it works in large-scale industrial production, the manufacturer will avoid critical supply ratios while saving about 40% in input costs. With the help of regenerative sources, this would offer significantly more environmentally friendly and resource-saving alternatives for industrial energy storage.
Altech Advanced Materials raised funds again in the fall despite complex capital markets. Following the completion of the transaction, the Company's share capital now stands at around EUR 7.06 million. The share price benefited strongly from this and briefly rose from an arithmetical EUR 3.40 before the capital measures to over EUR 5.50. The mood among investors in the sector is currently excellent and should be able to boost the share further.
IBU-tec and SFC Energy - Caught the attention of investors
Two other players in the energy market are currently attracting attention. At the IBU-tec Group, much revolves around battery raw materials. The Company offers solutions for the chemical industry and is currently the only European producer of LFP battery material for high-performance batteries made of lithium and iron phosphate. Customers include the automotive industry. CEO Ulrich Weitz is convinced that he covers the main growth areas of a future-oriented sector with the IBU-tec products. In addition to battery production, the materials are also used in catalysts for air purification, and another focus is low-CO2 cement. Thus, the group is positioned in a future-oriented way in the spectrum of climate rescue. After a high of EUR 51.80 at the beginning of 2022, the IBU-tec share had to endure a severe slump to just under EUR 15. However, the stock has been in demand again for 6 weeks and was able to double from a standing start.
SFC Energy is traded on the stock market as a hydrogen or sustainability stock. An emerging giant market beckons, and SFC wants to take a bigger piece with its technologies. After convincing quarterly figures with first-time profit and a 37% increase in sales, the fuel cell specialist has now received a mega order worth USD 15 million. As if that were not enough reason to pop champagne corks, an initial order followed worth EUR 5.3 million for highly advanced power supply systems from the semiconductor industry. The systems in question will be used as generator power supplies in critical plasma processes in the manufacture of silicon wafers and glass substrates. These manufacturing processes require very stable, precise and highly dynamic power supplies. SFC Energy can deliver this; investors cheer and send the share price up from EUR 15 to EUR 24 after a longer consolidation phase. The SFC share is still highly exciting at this new level because of its attractive positioning as a GreenTech stock.
High energy prices, the commitment to decarbonization, and the quest for supply security have spurred the demand for gensets and energy storage in recent years. Varta is currently consolidating strongly, and SFC and IBU-tec recently reported convincing outlooks. Altech Advanced Materials is now entering the market with absolutely innovative approaches.
Conflict of interest
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