Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Lithium Ion Battery Usage Soars, China Takeover, Growth Stocks Companies

Lithium demand is projected to rise very quickly over the next few years, possibly doubling within a decade. Consumption has the potential to increase even further if electric vehicles become commonplace; sales of Ford hybrid electric vehicles fell between 2010 and 2012 but set a new record in 2013: 65,326 (previous record is 35,496 set in 2010); total US sales for 100% electric vehicles +230% to 46,148; sales at Tesla TSLA keep going up-  Lithium Exploration Group LEXG is expected to be a key lithium contributor at Tesla's newest giga plant, the biggest lithium-ion factory in the world.
Don't forget about lithium-ion battery usage in aerospace: the new Boeing 787 Dreamliner operates on lithium-ion batteries- A key advantage of these batteries is a long battery life.

Bolivia knows this and is currently putting in place the infrastructure needed for companies to make the batteries within its own borders - a very wise move since there is a considerable amount of value added in the secondary industry.

This is especially important in GDP calculations:  If all of the parts forming a product are made elsewhere but assembled in China when exported, China gets credit for the whole thing despite having made no part of it. This has become a problem with respect to high-value US imports of electronics such as computers and mobile phones.

Lithium maintains a strong position in the industry, but investors must also be aware of the risks posed by alternative batteries - the Ryden dual carbon battery is just one example that's raising eyebrows.  It requires only 90 seconds to charge fully versus 30 minutes for lithium-ion.  It also has much improved battery life.

China Is Investing Heavily In Australia but Are Outright Takeovers In Anyone's Interest ?

In April, China made it easier for domestic companies to complete foreign takeovers:  up to $1 billion takeover deals don't  require government approval.  Virtually all of the takeovers have gone through smoothly with one exception:  Westside Corp Ltd asx:WCL rejects $164.5 million bid by China's Landbridge Group.

  • Just this month
  • Aquila Resources AQA owner of the $7 billion West Pilbara Iron Ore Project, got bought out by privately held Baosteel Group of China for $1.4 billion.  If I were an Australian shareholder I'd ask myself, will Baosteel bring over its own employees to run the mine ?  But shareholders were compensated well ($400 million was paid to former Aquila executive chairman) so the deal encountered no opposition.
  • Another takeover this month (May 2014) has PanAust Limited asx:PNA going to Guangdong Rising Assets Management.  A 45% premium makes the transaction hard to resist ($1.4 billion $2.30 per share vs $1.58).
  • The current gold price is posing challenges for Bullabulling Gold GGG:  hard time developing the Bullabulling Gold project.  Financing is not a problem for Zijin Mining of Xiamen, China and that gives it leverage in negotiating a deal.  The $24 million takeover is by Norton Gold ask:NGF, Zijin's Australian division.
  • Earlier this year
  • Carabella Resources CLR of Brisbane was taken over by Kingho Energy Group in a bid that was initially hostile (offer increased to $71 million in January).  The deal gives Kingo Energy control of Grosvenor West, a mega project that remains undeveloped due to high capital expenditure/development costs.

Big Gold Projects Propel Stocks Higher

High development costs ($1.77 billion) for Cadia East had led to construction delays, resulting in years of waiting for the underground mine (largest in Australia) to become operational.. but the extra capex is about to pay off nicely for Newcrest.  Cadia East will boost annual Cadia Hill gold production from under 400,000 oz to over 800,000 ounces (at a competitive cash cost).

Effect of Cadia East news on Newcrest Stock ytd +36%  6 months  +22%  1 month +0.1% vs Newmont NEM +2%  -9%  -8%, Barrick ABX  -6%  +1%  -10%

Canada's version of Cadia East is Kerr Sulpherets Mitchell, a 44.7 million ounce gold-250 million ounce silver-molybdenum mine that's 100% owned by Seabridge Gold.  Keep a close eye on ANY news reguarding its development:  Seabridge stock is due for a big jump in price.

China Agrees to $340 Natural Gas Price, It's A Done Deal 

The 30-year $400 billion deal reached last week between Russia and China will obviously impact the amount of natural gas China imports from other countries, but if you're Australia you shouldn't be too concerned :  Chinese companies already own interest in a number of Australian natural gas projects:  Curtis LNG project is 25% owned by Chinese company.  The Russian deal calls for Gazprom to sell 38m mmcf per year at the fixed rate of $340 per mmcf which is cheap, especially when you compare it to what the Europeans are paying for it.  Whatever happens though, don't expect Russia to ever play hardball with China when it comes to keeping the gas flowing - Russian government gets 6% of its revenue from natural gas exports.  A lot of the growth in Australia's natural gas industry is happening in the northern region.

Growth Stocks

Caterpillar CAT
Even though revenue and earnings declined slightly quarter on quarter, quarter to quarter earnings were stronger being up 4.7% to $922 million.  Pushing this hot stock higher is its earnings beating estimates: $1.61 vs $1.23.

Freeport McMoran FCX
eps beat analyst estimates : 49 cents versus 41 cents

MTR Corp MTRJY is the second largest land owner in Hong Kong.  little risk, lots of upside.  maintains AA+ rating at R&I.