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Cummins Engine – Emissions scandal ended by payment

Cummins Engine – Emissions scandal ended by payment

The share of Cummins Engine brings joy: The share price rose to a new high for the year, after the company was able to settle a long-standing legal dispute – it was about non-compliance with emission standards for engines – with a penalty payment of 1.6 billion USD, and with that this chapter is closed. The total cost of this settlement was 2.04 billion USD. Regarding the value per share, Cummins earned a good 19 USD in year 2023, if including the abovementioned costs. So it was about 6 USD per share.

The dividend remains at a high level – recently 1.68 USD per share in the quarter. Turnover increased by ten percent to 34.1 billion USD in year 2023 and should also further grow in the future. The subsidiary Accelera, which concentrates on the clean energy business (engines, batteries, fuel cells, electrolysis, etc.), was able to increase turnover to 354 million USD and should in the current fiscal year bump this up to 450 to 500 million USD. This area belongs, via the program Destination Zero, to one of the company’s future fields of focus and requires considerable investment. This division will therefore report a loss this year of 400 million USD, which, however, has its logical basis in the high initial investments. Even so, Accelera alone was already able to build up an order volume for electrolyzers of 500 million USD. The spin-off of the subsidiary Atmus Filtration Technologies to the shareholders (swap offer) is also about to be finalized. Cummins holds over 80 percent in this. The company will be valuated with 1.9 billion USD.

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New engine development HELMTM

A share price driver, however, can be the development of a new generation of engines. These units, based on the X15 engine platform, can be operated with natural gas as well as with hydrogen (starting 2028) and e-fuels. HELMTM stands for high efficiency, low emission, multiple fuels. They should accordingly contribute to significantly reducing the diesel demand of today’s customers. Test runs are underway with Walmart and UPS, and also with Paccar for its US class 8 truck Kenworth T680. Cummins is investing 1 billion USD in this project for the time being.

At the current price level – the company has a market capitalization of about 39 billion USD  – the current valuation seems sufficient to me, where Cummins is considered a standard stock with a high dividend yield. I would now remember and rather bet on the comparable competitor from China, Weichai Power, as this company is only half as highly valued as Cummins and additionally owns a special potential in the area of hydrogen and fuel cells. Cummins but will go its own way in hydrogen. The subsidiary responsible for this, Accelera, has very high growth potential, which will have a positive impact on the company as a whole in a few years’ time.

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Disclaimer

Each investor must always be aware of their own risk when investing in shares and should consider a sensible risk diversification. The FC companies and shares mentioned here are small and mid cap, i.e. they are not standard stocks and their volatility is also much higher. This report is not meant to be viewed as purchase recommendations, and the author holds no liability for your actions. All information is based on publicly available sources and, as far as assessment is concerned, represents exclusively the personal opinion of the author, who focuses on medium- and long-term valuation and not on short-term profit. The author may be in possession of the shares presented here.

Author: Sven Jösting, written March 15th, 2024

Ceres Power with strong partners

Ceres Power with strong partners

The main shareholders Bosch and Weichai are already counting on the English Ceres Power and their high-temperature fuel cell systems or their patents and know-how. With the South Korean Doosan Fuel Cell there is a license agreement and the planning of a joint FC production. Now, US company Delta Electronics is joining as a partner, which boasts a turnover of around 23 billion USD (over 80,000 employees) and recently closed a license agreement on the production of FC stacks for hydrogen production in the volume of 43 million GBP with Ceres Power, half of which will be counted towards the turnover for the current fiscal year. Delta will produce FC stacks on a license basis for various applications and markets at its 200 production sites worldwide. The company works with, among others, Microsoft and Tesla.

For us, it is interesting to see that Bloom Energy as well has bet very successfully on high-temperature fuel cells developed in-house (microgrids) and thus makes various energy sources such as natural gas, biogas and hydrogen usable. Bosch too addresses this market segment – among other things via a cooperation and license from Ceres.

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The share price of Ceres, like all other listed FC companies, has suffered greatly in recent years, but seems to me to have reached a price level at which one should build up positions. The partnerships with large companies allow the expectation of sustainably high revenue from licenses and sales, without Ceres having to strongly invest in the build-up of production capacities. Conclusion: A good portfolio addition in the area of FC and H2 technology.

Disclaimer

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Each investor must always be aware of their own risk when investing in shares and should consider a sensible risk diversification. The FC companies and shares mentioned here are small and mid cap, i.e. they are not standard stocks and their volatility is also much higher. This report is not meant to be viewed as purchase recommendations, and the author holds no liability for your actions. All information is based on publicly available sources and, as far as assessment is concerned, represents exclusively the personal opinion of the author, who focuses on medium- and long-term valuation and not on short-term profit. The author may be in possession of the shares presented here.

Author: Sven Jösting, written March 15th, 2024

Group rotation will drive hydrogen forward

Group rotation will drive hydrogen forward

Sven Jösting’s stock analysis

#Shares from the crypto universe and from many technology companies are currently reaching new highs. Armaments are also booming on the stock market in view of the many global, some war-like, political conflicts. Only the topic of hydrogen and fuel cells is still leading a shadowy existence, with prices at crash level, which however – still – fully obscures the prospects of sustainably produced energy, and above all of hydrogen.

The stock exchange also always works according to the principle of group rotation, according to which always exactly these topics slide back into the focus and center of investor interest that have been completely neglected up to now but have excellent prospects. Precisely why I expect that, after almost three years of falling share prices, the trend will now gradually reverse and a sustainable, long-term upward trend on the stock market is beginning that is based on very high company growth.

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To many market participants, it is unclear at this time how hydrogen will be available in large quantities, although it is already clear today that production volumes will increase enormously and prices will fall. All this, however, doesn’t happen overnight: Gigantic capacities in electrolyzer technology – PEM, AFC, AEM, SOFC – must arise to be able to produce sufficient hydrogen.

Hydrogen economy is on its way and will come!

“The H2 economy is on its way and will come,” was the conclusion of the H2-Forum in Berlin (Feb. 19 and 20, 2024, see p. 20). One speaker explained that we’ve now come, after overinflated expectations, “out of the valley of the dead” and on solid ground. Now, it’s all about assessing risks and partaking in concrete projects, which would mean investments in the whole area of hydrogen. From talk to action.

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If we take a visionary look into the years 2030, 2035 and 2040, it’s clear what technologically needs to be on course today. Green and, temporarily, blue hydrogen (produced by natural gas reforming – 70 percent less CO2) will dominate and replace gray hydrogen from natural gas, eventually CO2-freely. Regeneratively produced hydrogen will be a raw material that receives a market price as a commodity on the stock exchange. Those producers who have large quantities of low-cost renewable energy (solar, wind and hydropower) at their disposal and have the necessary access to water (above all seawater) will get a tradable commodity that they can sell on the world market, with high profit margins, or use themselves.

In the last case, it can be observed that countries with ideal framework conditions are increasingly thinking about using the hydrogen produced locally themselves, by setting up corresponding industries, instead of selling it to countries like Germany, as energy is a very important location factor.

Hydrogen and the stock market

In countries such as China and individual regions like the US state of California are developing hydrogen strategies that have model character and can serve as a blueprint for the world. In China, over 1,200 H2 refueling stations are to be in operation by 2025. Currently, it’s about 400. South Korea wants long-term to establish more than 1,600 H2 refueling stations in the country. Here in Germany are, as before, around 100 in operation.

Companies with capacities for fuel cell stacks and modules for commercial vehicles are in the starting blocks (Bosch, Cummins, Ballard, Hyzon, Toyota, Hyundai, etc.), because these markets will be huge. Several million trucks and buses can be assumed to be converted to battery or fuel cell (also in combination) in the next ten to twenty years. Hydrogen engines are also attracting a lot of attention, as various prototypes have already been developed (Bosch, Cummins, Toyota).

The question of the right H2 shares can be answered well with this context, as primarily companies will win that have a mature technology, operate with robust business models, are able to deliver and possibly profit from the consumable hydrogen itself, if they can produce it themselves at low cost or distribute and use it as a commodity.

Here beckons the prospect of a good profit margin with high growth potential. On the stock exchange, however, there is right now in the area of hydrogen a phase of disappointment, as firstly everything is not going so quickly and secondly setbacks must also be overcome. In addition to questions of implementation speed, there are often also regulatory issues on the timeline. That the stock market has not yet recognized the potential of the companies through their share prices and valuations is easy to see from the current prices. There is no question that there will be a complete reassessment, however, even if it will take longer. Be patient. We are only at the beginning of this new mega-trend – also on the stock exchange. Let’s wait for the group rotation; then, everything will happen very quickly.

Disclaimer

Each investor must always be aware of their own risk when investing in shares and should consider a sensible risk diversification. The FC companies and shares mentioned here are small and mid cap, i.e. they are not standard stocks and their volatility is also much higher. This report is not meant to be viewed as purchase recommendations, and the author holds no liability for your actions. All information is based on publicly available sources and, as far as assessment is concerned, represents exclusively the personal opinion of the author, who focuses on medium- and long-term valuation and not on short-term profit. The author may be in possession of the shares presented here.

Author: Sven Jösting, written March 15th, 2024

Plug Power: Facts offer little hope

Plug Power: Facts offer little hope

The turnover in the amount of 198.7 million USD in the third quarter lay considerably below expectations, the loss per share amounts to a minus of 0.47 USD per share with the expected minus of 0.30 USD per share – in the negative sense. The loss for the first nine months of the financial year lies over 725 million USD. But the cash on hand at the quarter end of still only 567 million USD is rather irritating, as the board always spoke of sufficient liquidity.

It is now certain that at least 500 million USD in new liquidity – in the short term – must be obtained in order to be able to adequately finance all projects, is the opinion of the specialist analyst from Morgan Stanley, Andrew Percoco. This then puts further pressure on the share price – if it happens, – since institutional investors want a discount on the entry price.

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Has the Plug Power management overestimated themselves and started too many projects at the same time? There’s talk of seven to nine giga-projects (production facilities for FC stacks, electrolyzers, hydrogen, cryogenic technologies, etc.) in the USA and four others around the world. For this, the capital drain is very high. At the same time, certain regulations are not yet in place. And the credit expected from the Department of Energy (DOE) as part of the Inflation Reduction Act in the amount of 1 to 1.5 billion USD not be ready until 2024 at the earliest, as there are extensive tests and conditions involved.

Plug itself does not yet produce liquid hydrogen, but buys it on the market. This has led to further problems, as it is associated with high costs and losses. Parallel is the frozen cash of over one billion USD (restricted cash), which in turn, in my estimation, could be connected with the major customers mentioned here.

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Tight liquidity situation

Still only 567 million USD was the amount of cash in the bank for Plug Power at the end of the third quarter. The many parallel projects, however, require further financial support before sales and the associated profits can be generated. That will take some time. The hyperboles uttered under CEO Andy Marsh to influence the stock exchange via investor relations are backfiring.

It is now to be expected that Plug will attempt to raise new equity by issuing shares and/or convertible bonds, which in view of the figures will no longer be so easy. Based on current share prices, any major capital increase (share issue) will only be possible at low prices. The board has stated a number of internal problems, from the situation with the purchase of hydrogen to delays in the start-up of production facilities as well as problems with supply chains.

The strong order intake in the electrolyzers segment may be reassuring, but it should be feared that competition will increase sharply, causing profit margins to shrink. Direct quote from the company: “Unprecedented challenges in the supply of hydrogen in North America.”

Short Interest

This figure – in December 158 million Plug Power shares – I always look at very closely, because it shows in which form speculation against a company and its share price is taking place. If the news is good, a price turbo (squeeze) could come about, but in Plug’s case it shows that the short sellers are correct in their assessment. I assume, though, it’s exactly big customers such as Amazon and Walmart who may have hedged their option rights via short selling. Both together have received over 100 million of these rights as a gift and can change them with very low conversion rates into shares. Theoretically, both have several billion USD (book) profit in their books if they go short at 70, 60, 50, 40, 30 USD per share – their purchase prices were are about 1.29 to 13 USD per share via exercise of the warrants. But that’s just a guess on my part – no guarantee.

I have always been critical of this deal because Plug has “baited” customers with it. And restricted cash of one billion USD is directly related to these major customers. The reason: This involves guarantees, warranties, security for technical support, spare parts and much more. Plug Power must provide such guarantees to customers such as Walmart and Amazon so that it can soundly implement orders, meaning operates H2 refueling stations for forklift trucks and ensures that there is always enough hydrogen available. The result is around one billion USD in restricted cash, frozen financial resources that cannot be used in any other way. Will companies like Amazon remain forever exclusive customers Plug Power regarding forklifts and their H2 refueling stations? The question arises because there are fewer orders from Amazon for the retrofitting of forklift trucks. Why?

Plug loses power-to-X project in Denmark

Via the consortium partner Plug Power Idomlund Denmark, Plug had actually been awarded the contract for the first power-to-X project in Denmark with a total of 280 MW of electrolysis capacity over six projects in its pocket. Then came the setback on November 20, 2023: Plug did not manage to provide a bank guarantie within the specified timeframe. It is probably about 28.3 million euros – no guarantees.

Summary: I had advised restraint until the figures for the third quarter were on the table. They are now here, but a buy still does not present itself, because it will still take time until the company creates clarity. On the contrary: Wait and see. Traders, however, can become active, since price fluctuations driven by the news will remain very high (high volatility), because the stock market has already severely punished the company (minus 40 percent alone on Nov. 10, 2023).

The question also arises as to whether Plug Power cannot avoid including partners in some projects, as it has already done with Fortescue. But that would come at the wrong time, because the possible conditions would be determined by the partner and investor rather than Plug Power itself. Will assets now possibly even have to be squandered?

In short: There is currently no need for action, because the expected figures for the current fourth quarter could again be disappointing. In 2024 and in the following years, however, the positive turnaround may come, when Plug has realized the in-house production of hydrogen on a large scale and benefited here from the Inflation Reduction Act, among other things, and also made good money with it. A DOE loan can be a game changer, but it takes time. There is no guarantee of this, even if it can be assumed that the Biden administration will not abandon prestige projects and players like Plug.

Further issues of shares are now even considered necessary and will not be implementable at ideal conditions. Six analysts have already radically changed their assessment – in a negative sense. I didn’t think my forecast would come true so quickly that the value of Bloom Energy would exceed that of Plug Power. Unfortunately, buy on bad-news is not yet suitable here. A buy limit for buying the share at three euros would be a first step. This stock is contemplatable if Plug offers institutional investors a discount on the purchase of new shares as a concession – as a risk discount.

Disclaimer

Each investor must always be aware of their own risk when investing in shares and should consider a sensible risk diversification. The FC companies and shares mentioned here are small and mid cap, i.e. they are not standard stocks and their volatility is also much higher. This report is not meant to be viewed as purchase recommendations, and the author holds no liability for your actions. All information is based on publicly available sources and, as far as assessment is concerned, represents exclusively the personal opinion of the author, who focuses on medium- and long-term valuation and not on short-term profit. The author may be in possession of the shares presented here.

Nikola Motors: Capital increase at the right time

Nikola Motors: Capital increase at the right time

Short sellers are working massively against the company at the stock exchange. There were shortly even nearly 200 million shares sold short (on Nov. 16 still 193 million). But now, a price change upwards seems very likely. The reason could lie in the comments made at the press conference on the third quarter results, which Nikola – in my words – sees as being on the right track. The company amassed about 250 million USD in liquidity in the third quarter, and now has available 705 million USD in capital access.

The damage due to recalled battery-electric trucks was reported as 61.8 million USD (warranty reserve), where Nikola not only resolved this problem, but employed batteries from a still unnamed supplier that possessed advantages over the previous model, was the comment from the company. Additionally, the truck will be equipped with more features that will give the driver more options during use, for example from a distance using a smartphone app, the truck could be already prepared with heating in the winter and air conditioning in the summer, before the driver gets in. The battery-electric truck will, after the retrofitting in the first quarter, again find its way to customers.

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Now orders can come

There are 277 letters of intent for the purchase of the hydrogen-powered truck. In the fourth quarter, 30 to 50 of them are to be delivered and between 11 and 19 million USD turnover generated. With the battery-electric truck, meanwhile – despite the recall – an individual order of 47 units will be gained. In the next two years, Nikola is determined to deliver on average 250 to 300 trucks of both types per quarter.

The cash burn is at 100 million USD in the quarter, where for the current quarter, the financial effects of the recall on the battery-electric truck are still to be felt (61.8 million USD, of which about 38 million USD is capital that will be used). And the better the scaling of the truck production goes, the more cost-effective they can be manufactured, in order to at the end of the day come out with a good profit margin. Consider this: Money is the future will be earned especially with electricity and hydrogen and not with e-trucks per se. Nikola is at the start of its (success) story.

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California setting the pace

Nikola is concentrating, for good reason, on the US state California. Firstly, the best subsidies (up to around 408,000 USD per truck) are there; secondly, the time pressure for shippers to replace diesel-powered by CO2-free trucks is very high. Already starting 2024, in California only the last-mentioned will be allowed at port facilities, so there will be new registrations only for battery-electric or hydrogen trucks. We’re talking about over 30,000 trucks alone in this market segment – a winning pass for Nikola Motors, since in the Inflation Reduction Act are provided also 2.6 billion USD in subsidies specially for port facilities and also drayage trucks as well as for the H2 infrastructure.

Additionally, the competition for Nikola in this truck segment will be sparse for years to come. The look at the already approved vouchers for e-trucks is cause to celebrate: 96 percent of the vouchers of the California’s HVIP program for hydrogen-powered trucks and 50 percent of the vouchers for battery-electric trucks are attributable to Nikola. After all, Nikola is to have received approval of already over 400 vouchers for the two truck variants. A respectable success.

Lawsuit against Milton won

The lengthy legal dispute with company founder Trevor Milton was won. On October 20 came the decision. Milton must now pay 165 million USD to Nikola, which includes procedural costs Nikola first had to pay and now receives back. It should be noted here that there is still no indication of when the money will flow. Nikola still has to pay a portion to the SEC itself, as they reached a settlement of 125 million USD and must itself fulfill it. If 165 million USD flows from Milton soon, Nikola’s liquidity will rise, as the SEC payments will be divided over the next years.

Goals ambitious but realistic

Currently, Nikola can produce 2,400 trucks of either variant per year. In order to be profitable, sales of 1,000 trucks in 2024 and 1,500 in 2025 are needed. These targets are considered realistic from the company’s perspective, if Nikola delivers 250 to 300 truck per quarter. In my view, there will also be some large orders. Beyond this, declarations like the letter of intent (LoI) with Anheuser-Busch (800 trucks) will also flow into the orders on hand, is my expectation.

Nikola Motors – The Tesla of trucks?

For this hypothesis, I earned a lot of criticism. One cannot compare a startup like Nikola, though, with the success story of Tesla. One can say: Tesla started small, then came Elon Musk. The company reported heavy losses for many years and was even on the verge of bankruptcy before the breakthrough came. In the first three years, Tesla earned money, but not with the e-cars but with  emission rights that could be sold to other car manufacturers. Tesla solved the chicken-and-egg problem by providing the electricity for the battery-electric vehicles itself by establishing a charging network made of its own Supercharger stations. Who would have bought a car from Tesla if there had been no charging option – as a package, even free of charge for years?

Nikola is doing the same – only for trucks with the help of electric charging stations and H2 refueling stations. Nikola wants to earn money with electricity and the self-produced or purchased hydrogen. In the USA are waving high subsidies of three USD per kg. Tesla continues to address the market for e-cars, but Nikola the segment for trucks. Both companies can be considered disruptive – they change markets and business models. Both are first movers.

Tesla and its CEO was met with much skepticism, but they proved that change is possible. Nikola is doing the same – only for commercial vehicles. Whether both can be compared with regard to the development of their valuation or share prices time will tell. For Nikola I am extremely optimistic.

Chief financial officer leaves the company

Stasy Pasterick was just six months in office as CFO. She is going over to Universal Hydrogen in the same capacity. It will be interesting to see who her successor will be.

Capital increase secures the company

On December 6, 2023, Nikola’s plan to raise fresh capital on the stock market became known. It entails a convertible bond of a nominal 175 million USD with 8.25-percent coupon (green bonds) with maturity December 2026 (0.90 USD conversion price per share) and 100 million USD in new shares at 0.75 USD per share. The share price fell from around 1 USD probably because – no guarantee – a hedging took place, so the price was depressed, as one can retain and stock up on the share after the capital raise. The share also fell because short sellers wanted to use the capital increase as a negative for themselves.

In accordance with experience, this measure will have already been successfully implemented by the time you read these lines. With it, Nikola is then thoroughly financed and will ultimately have 500 million USD in the bank. That the share price is rising above 1 USD again is also in the nature of things, because the financiers (investment banks such as Nomura) will most likely not accept a delisting of the share (it will come to this if the price sinks below 1 USD for a longer time).

Summary: Nikola is well on the way to positioning itself as a first mover in CO2-free trucks in the USA – first in California, later across the whole country and in parallel in Canada, where likewise large subsidy sums up to 380,000 CAD per truck are waving. Comprehensive funding programs are acting as a turbo, as the buyers of the trucks can comply with the regulatory pressure and are financially incentivized as well. The H2 infrastructure is being established by the company itself, but will be financially accompanied by business partners such as Voltera (EQT) and is receiving a boost by a 7-billion-USD program of the Biden administration, in which seven hydrogen hubs are to be established in the USA. The stock market will not be able to avoid newly valuing Nikola as a startup: In the right market at the right time. Maybe Nikola will even be the H2 share that develops the most price potential. What’s the phrase? No risk, no fun.

Nikola’s management team is considered excellent. CEO Stephen Girsky pointed out that this includes top managers who no longer actually have to work in a start-up, but who are happy to contribute their expertise to make the company’s vision a reality. This is the right approach – out of conviction and with experience.

Disclaimer

Each investor must always be aware of their own risk when investing in shares and should consider a sensible risk diversification. The FC companies and shares mentioned here are small and mid cap, i.e. they are not standard stocks and their volatility is also much higher. This report is not meant to be viewed as purchase recommendations, and the author holds no liability for your actions. All information is based on publicly available sources and, as far as assessment is concerned, represents exclusively the personal opinion of the author, who focuses on medium- and long-term valuation and not on short-term profit. The author may be in possession of the shares presented here.