Bloom Energy gained its South Korean customer and corporate partner of many years, SK ecoplant, as a shareholder and, thanks to the existing good working relationship, has even bagged a USD 4.5 billion order – for hardware and software and also service revenue – for 500 megawatts for the time being. This order should only be the start though and so ought to have further potential. SK ecoplant, part of the SK Group, is the largest energy corporation in South Korea and is planning to invest multiple billions in fuel cells and hydrogen, said to be about USD 25 billion.
If you read about any of the major hydrogen projects underway, you will be unable to avoid Siemens Energy. Orders like the recent ones worth EUR 700 million should be on the agenda. Even the problems with its wind power subsidiary Gamesa seem solvable because – regardless of short-term problems (price increases in raw materials and component shortages) – the market is growing strongly. Here, I would venture to suggest to the company that it integrates wind farms into existing projects and offerings via Power Purchase Agreements, or PPAs, from the outset. Then you would be able to view a wind farm from a different return perspective and margin.
Interview with stock market pundit Dirk Müller
For months now, hydrogen has been dominating the conversation. But far from it being a topic of discussion confined to the energy sector, it’s also a subject on the lips of many stockholders. Internet platforms have been brimming over with posts: a cacophony of news, views, speculation and rumor. And an increasing number of providers are luring potential clients with – sometimes dubious – market studies supposedly offering fresh insider intelligence with the promise of maximum stock returns. One of the best-known stock market experts in Germany is Dirk Müller – otherwise known as Mr. Dax. Many years back he predicted that hydrogen would have a major role to play not just in the energy industry but also on the stock markets. H2-international talked to Müller about his experiences, expectations and share trading strategy.
A market report recently published by news agency Bloomberg concludes we’re well on our way to a hydrogen revolution. I’d call it a megatrend. The report’s authors expect USD 2.5 trillion, that is, USD 2,500 billion, will pour into the hydrogen and fuel cell sector by 2050. The International Energy Agency agrees. Between 2018 and 2020, an estimated USD 1.5 billion per year went into developing the market, a figure said to climb to USD 38 billion by 2040. By 2050, investments will reportedly grow to USD 181 billion – again, per year. All these forecasts are based on targets already set by countries, global organizations and companies themselves.
It seems like Nikola Motors [Nasdaq: NKLA] was able to stop the bleeding of the past few months. The stock is rising again. Up to 30 million shares are now traded each day, a comparatively high volume for the company. The new-found optimism among investors seems to stem from reports about Nikola’s recent progress in meeting its targets. Construction of the Arizona factory is well underway. Then there are new production facilities being built in Ulm, Germany. And another boost for the stock came when competitor Daimler Truck announced its intention to have 5,000 hydrogen-fueled heavy-duty vehicles on the road over the next few years, with business partner Shell providing the fueling infrastructure. Sounds a lot like Nikola’s business model, the difference being that Nikola will produce its own hydrogen, and be able to keep the revenue, instead of outsourcing the task to another company.
Like all hydrogen and fuel cell stocks, Weichai Power’s has come under pressure since February. That doesn’t change the business’s bright prospects. Weichai [2338:HK] is turning a profit and is expanding its operations through joint ventures and strategic acquisitions. One example of this is Weichai’s recent purchase of a 45-percent ownership stake in Kion, the world’s second-largest forklift truck manufacturer. The deal, valued at EUR 3.5 billion, might even lead to the deployment of hydrogen and fuel cell systems in Kion’s next-generation forklift trucks. Like Bosch, Weichai owns part of CERUS. It also has an around 15-percent stake in Ballard Power, with which it runs a stack factory in China (a 51/49 partnership).
That was fast. First, Plug Power [Nasdaq: PLUG] raises around USD 840 million issuing new shares at USD 22.25 apiece. A felt five minutes later, the company is offered a USD 1 billion bought deal, perfectly exploiting the stock surge to collect massive capital. Plug must now have over USD 1.7 billion in the bank, thanks to the company’s growth prospects targeting hydrogen.
The hammer fell on Nov. 30, 2020. General Motors will not buy into Nikola. But according to the new memorandum of understanding, GM still wants to work with Nikola on battery and fuel cell technology. Consequently, the Badger pickup truck will not emerge from GM’s assembly line as planned. And the originally projected USD 2 billion investment is also rendered moot. As a result, Nikola stock plummeted.
It may seem contradictory, since joining an important market index is a very good thing, requiring funds to adjust their holdings. In Tesla’s case, I see at least USD 8 billion would have to be invested through them. I tend to doubt this will automatically lead to a massive increase in valuation. Index funds may already have positions based on a variety of investment vehicles, such as options that can be turned into shares without any relevant influence on the price. Perhaps out of pure contrariness, the stock could turn sour when things are looking their best because analysts, investors and the media see only rising prices, completely ignoring the risks.
FuelCell Energy’s quarterly results weren’t the reason for the year-end price surge from around USD 2 to over USD 11. At times, more than 200 million trades were concluded in one day, which exceeds the total shares outstanding. I believe we’re witnessing the impact of high-frequency or day trades or swarm-like investor activity via, e.g., Robinhood. Right before the rally, Heights Capital Management reported the purchase of 19 million FuelCell shares, giving the private equity firm a 6.7 percent stake in the fuel cell business.