AMTE Power CEO discusses results, InfraNomics JV, client engagement & expanding production (Interview)

AMTE Power plc (LON:AMTE), a developer and manufacturer of lithium-ion and sodium-ion battery cells for specialist markets, has today announced Final Results for the year to 30 June 2021.

Operational and Strategic Highlights

· All three of the Group’s highly differentiated battery cells in development made good progress during the year and remain on track for one to be released in each of the next three years.

· In June AMTE Power was selected as the lead in a new Government funded three-year project called ULTRA focused on bringing two AMTE Power lithium-ion batteries to automotive readiness alongside key brands. BMW and Arrival sit on the project steering group.

· Under a framework agreement with the publicly funded £130 million UK Battery Industrialisation Centre (“UKBIC”) AMTE Power is one of the first to take advantage of this facility as part of the scale up of its products in advance of commercialisation.

· As we move towards production the active engagement mix has moved away from development orientated engagements towards commercial supply engagements, up over the six months to 30 June 2021 from 9 to 19 out of a total of 68 active engagements.

Pathway to Volume Production

· Production expansion plans for a UK Gigafactory (initially 2GWh increasing to 10GWh and beyond over time) have made substantial progress. The Group has engaged with local authorities for regions with preferred sites and national funding sources to secure government grants and developed detailed designs.

· The Group expects to confirm the site of its UK based Gigafactory and government funding support in 2022.

· Constructive collaboration and dialogue with a wide range of commercial partners providing underlying confidence in the route to commercialisation for the Group’s portfolio of battery products.

· Post year end announced signing of shareholder agreement to formalise joint venture with InfraNomics in Australia, targeting the energy storage sector.

· The joint venture, called Bardan Cells, will operate from Australia’s “Lithium Valley” Kwinana Industrial Area, and has plans to build and fund a 200,000 cell micro production line as a forerunner to establishing a 1-2GWh per annum Gigafactory.  

Financial Highlights

· UK and European grants plus income from commercial partners led to turnover increasing to £2.0 million (2020: £1.3 million).

· Completed a successful IPO with admission to AIM on 12 March 2021 alongside an oversubscribed placing to new and existing shareholders raising gross proceeds of £12.9 million.

· Additional funds have enabled the acceleration of investment into key people, the completion of first phases of both product development and the planning for an AMTE Power Gigafactory.

· Adjusted EBITDA of (£3.2m) (2020: (£2.0m)) and adjusted loss before tax of £3.1m (2020: (£2.0m)) following the adjustment for share based payments of £0.9m in 2021 and £0.1m in 2020.

· Cash and cash equivalents at 30 June 2021 of £9.3m (2020: £1.0m).

Financial Outlook

· Good visibility on securing additional grant funding in line with IPO expectations.

· Product releases will provide increasing visibility on scale and timing of prototype and product revenues.

CEO Kevin Brundish joins DirectorsTalk Interviews to discuss full year results for the year ended 30th June 2021. Kevin takes us through the key highlights for the year, explains where they are on the pathway to production, whether a JV in Australia is a side line to Uk activities or not, key milestones for the business investors should look out for over the next 12 months and a bit more detail on nature of the commercial agreements being seen now.

Kevin Brundish, CEO of AMTE Power said:

“This has been a successful period for the business. While the IPO was a major focus and success for the Company, we have also made excellent progress towards commercialising our portfolio of battery products. We are collaborating well with Government funded organisations, tasked with accelerating the UK’s move away from fossil fuels to battery power, such as Automotive Propulsion Centre, the Faraday Institute and the UK BIC. Our products are being tested with these bodies and commercial partners for being suitable for large scale manufacture as well as being capable of meeting the commercial needs of our future customers.

The Government is actively driving the UK to become a leading centre for battery production and future innovation. Based on our direct conversations with government and their public statements, we believe they continue to be fully committed and this makes for an ideal backdrop for AMTE Power to deliver on our plans.

We continue to focus on the development of multiple cells for a variety of specialist markets, not just automotive, all with sufficient scale to make them highly commercially attractive.”

Chair’s statement

I am delighted to be making my first full year results statement for AMTE Power as a public company. The successful IPO earlier this year has placed the business in a strong position with the financial support to achieve its immediate commercial targets, and in the 12 months under review significant progress has already been made towards those targets.

Strategy

AMTE Power was created to focus on the requirements of specialist customers whose power, performance and endurance needs are outside the scope of the mainstream international battery manufacturers and also to not simply be a developer but have the manufacturing capability to deliver products. Despite being a specialist, the markets and customers being targeted are significant.

Currently, the Group has three highly differentiated battery cells in development, with one expected to be released in each of the next three years, and a pipeline of technologies for future development. Alongside proving the capabilities of the individual cells to be manufactured at scale and their ability to meet the needs of our commercial partners and future customers, the Group will need to build a new UK manufacturing facility to expand capacity, initially to approximately 2GWh per annum. The market will ultimately determine the speed and scale of our expansion, and we have not set an upper limit, with plans that include scale-up to 10GWh per annum and beyond. We are currently expecting to have our expanded volume manufacturing plant in place by 2024/25. Progress on product development and intellectual property, commercial partnerships and the building of the new manufacturing facility are the key elements of the Group’s focus.

Delivery

Despite completing a very successful IPO during the period under review, the management team also delivered against its operational targets. Product development continued apace throughout the year. We are currently evaluating at UKBIC the speed of manufacture of both the Ultra High Power and Ultra Energy cells, with early results being positive for both cells. At the year end, the Group was involved in 68 active engagements on a range of opportunities including commercial development and product request opportunities as well as advanced discussions to create consortia to secure grant funding for focused projects that support our cell development programmes. Next year the Group intends to identify its preferred site for building a new manufacturing facility. The Group expects to attract significant government support to help fund the building of the new site.

The Board

As part of the IPO, the Board was pleased to welcome Alyson Levett as a Non-Executive Director. Alyson joined the Board in January 2021 and brings significant public company experience. Adam Westcott, Chief Financial Officer, also joined the Board during the financial year (December 2020) but had been part of the senior management team since joining the Company in January 2018. In June 2021, Adam decided to leave the Company to take up a new role and will be stepping down as director at the upcoming Annual General Meeting and I would like to thank Adam for his significant contribution to the business.

I am also delighted to welcome James Hobson, an experienced AIM company finance director, who joined on 4th October 2021 to succeed Adam.

Employees

It would be remiss of me not to thank our employees for all of their efforts in this year of significant change and evolution in our company. We have had to deal with the impact of COVID across our business and our customers and suppliers. In addition, we have significantly grown the team as we look towards product release.

Outlook

AMTE Power is in a good position. There is a high level of commercial interest in our products. We remain on target with the plans to achieve commercialisation we set out at the time of our IPO and we can see new opportunities arising as we collaborate more fully with our range of partners. That said, our focus will remain on progressing our three core specialist battery cells into full scale production.

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David Morgan

Independent Non-Executive Chair

CEO’s Review

Introduction

FY21 has been an important year for AMTE Power. Firstly, the Group completed a successful IPO in March 2021 raising new capital in an oversubscribed placing and, secondly, there was a step change in the Government’s commitment to making the UK a centre of excellence for battery innovation and production. Under the “Green Industrial Revolution” the Government set out its plans for decarbonisation with a flagship policy of switching the motor industry to electric vehicles by 2030.

For AMTE Power, becoming a public company is part of our progression towards the commercialisation of our portfolio of battery cells and the Government’s active involvement in our industry is fundamental to the success of the sector. As a result, we believe the Group is well placed to achieve its commercial targets.

Financial review

As a Group we grew turnover 55% to £2.0m compared to £1.3m for the previous period. This was driven by an increase in grant income of 176% compared to the previous period. Grant income accounted for 65% of turnover in the year (up from 37% in 2020). The Group continues to invest in its product development, resulting in operating losses of £3.8m for the year (2020: £1.9m).

The dominant event in the year was the raising of £12.9m of gross proceeds and the IPO for the business, resulting in a strong financial platform from which to finalise the product development and lay the groundwork for the building of our own Gigafactory.

Operational review

We made good progress on the four key elements which come together to progress the portfolio of battery cells towards commercialisation.

Product development

The Group’s most developed product for the automotive battery cell market is Ultra High Power, a rechargeable pouch format battery cell. Ultra High Power is being developed in conjunction with several specialist manufacturers in the automotive industry and has the ability to deliver power consistently at a very high rate, thereby enhancing acceleration in high performance vehicles. At first, the Ultra High Power solely targeted the high-performance motor industry but the potential is clear to also target mainstream performance cars and advanced interest from motor manufacturers reflects this.

The Group’s cell for the oil and gas market is Ultra Prime, a single use cylindrical battery cell. Ultra Prime is being designed with very high energy and high temperature performance for use in challenging environments. In addition to these features, the Ultra Prime cell is designed to have a very long standby life with no loss of performance, making it ideal for use not only where restricted access is a key consideration, but also where the battery needs to be in situ for an extended period.

We already have a development and supply agreement for our Ultra Prime cell with an equipment manufacturer within the oil and gas sector. Cells manufactured in low volume have already demonstrated that they meet the performance required for our client base, with growing evidence, as time passes, of the longevity of the cell. The manufacture of cells is now being transferred back to Thurso in readiness for higher volumes, with a target of up to 1 million cells per annum, for onward supply to the client for industry certification testing prior to supply commencing. Early interest is also being seen from other market sectors, in particular defence, due to its very high energy density.

Ultra Safe, aimed at the energy storage market, is based chemically on sodium, an element which is more readily available, and at a significantly lower price, than lithium. Good progress was made during the year towards product release and, whilst at an earlier stage than the other pipeline products, it has the greatest opportunity to be a transformational product in the battery market place, given the significant potential advantages it has over lithium-ion-based battery cells as a storage medium in terms of safety, efficacy and cost.

Earlier this year, AMTE Power signed a framework agreement with the publicly funded UK Battery Industrialisation Centre (“UKBIC”). UKBIC is now coming online and AMTE Power is one of the first to take advantage of this facility as it begins the scale-up of its Ultra High Power and Ultra Energy cells. This is an important step in demonstrating that AMTE Power’s products can be manufactured at a speed consistent with Gigafactory rates of production (“Gigapace”) and we are pleased to report that certain aspects of the manufacturing steps are already achieving the rate of production that will be required if we are to be able to meet the expected level of customer demand and we are not aware of any impediments in other aspects.

Intellectual Property

The cells under development have embedded innovation and intellectual property, which is licensed from third parties. AMTE Power has also generated its own intellectual property which is protected through patenting, registered designs and trade marks. The Ultra brand of products is now almost fully trade marked for use. Three patent applications have been submitted in the reported period to strengthen the IP base in the Group.

Key Performance Indicators (‘KPIs’)

The Board reviews a range of targeted KPIs, which measure the progress being made by the Company. Product KPI’s link development milestones and product performance to the product release dates. Intellectual Property KPI’s such as patent applications, product trademarks and registered designs, are monitored to ensure our products are protected. Commercial KPIs link the product development activities to the sales pipeline and engagement of commercialisation partners.

Operational KPIs ensure that overheads and cash resources are tightly controlled. Industrialisation KPI’s monitor our progress towards large scale manufacturing and link to our product development end user client engagements. The most important financial KPIs are the cash position, turnover and profitability of the Company, which remain under regular review by the management and board, the control of which is also reviewed by the Audit and Risk Committee.

Commercial collaboration

A key signal as to the future demand for our battery cells is the involvement of OEMs in key projects, such as ULTRA, a new government funded three-year project which AMTE Power is to lead and which focuses on bringing two AMTE Power lithium-ion batteries to automotive readiness alongside key industry brands. This project, and others like it to come, demonstrates the high level of interest in our battery cells both from government and commercial partners. Our objective is to secure long-term engagements with clients which are aligned with our timeline for when our products become accredited and ready for volume production. Vehicle OEMs including BMW and Arrival are part of the project’s steering group.

Gigafactory

Alongside the product development, we continued to progress our plans for a “Gigafactory” as part of the proposed expansion of our production capability, developing our ability to meet the expected customer demand for our products. Discussions with UK Government funding sources are well developed and we expect to gain financial support behind our expansion plans.

The Group has also continued to develop its relationship with InfraNomics, a leading Australian infrastructure provider, to create a new JV that will manufacture battery cells for use in power storage systems with initial plans for 2GWh per annum production levels in Australia. As recently announced, the new venture will operate from the “Lithium Valley” Kwinana Industrial zone in Western Australia, an area dedicated to the development of lithium-related products and which contains one of the largest raw material deposits in the world for li ion batteries.

Outlook

Electrification is happening and is driven by a global shift away from fossil fuels and in the UK by a government determined that the country plays a central role in battery production. AMTE Power is a specialist within a very large market and offers highly differentiated products to substantial corporations whose needs are different from the mainstream. In the trials and tests we are currently conducting we know we are meeting their varying requirements for additional power, durability and extended life, and as a consequence we are excited by the future potential of our business.

Kevin Brundish

Chief Executive Officer

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AMTE Power PLC

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