BMW.DE - Bayerische Motoren Werke Aktiengesellschaft

XETRA - XETRA Delayed Price. Currency in EUR
64.51
-0.80 (-1.22%)
At close: 5:35PM CET
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Previous Close65.31
Open65.06
Bid64.57 x 0
Ask64.58 x 0
Day's Range64.08 - 65.50
52 Week Range58.04 - 78.30
Volume2,005,662
Avg. Volume1,373,158
Market Cap41.712B
Beta (5Y Monthly)1.32
PE Ratio (TTM)5.96
EPS (TTM)N/A
Earnings DateN/A
Forward Dividend & Yield3.50 (5.36%)
Ex-Dividend DateMay 17, 2019
1y Target EstN/A
  • Reuters

    RPT-China's Geely starts online auto sales as virus epidemic keeps buyers at home

    Chinese automaker Geely has launched a service for customers to buy cars online and get them delivered directly to their homes, in a bid to drum up sales as the coronavirus outbreak prompts buyers to stay away from showrooms. Consumers can order and customize their cars on Geely's website, it said in a statement. The coronavirus has killed 2,236 people and stricken more than 75,400 in mainland China, and strict public health measures to contain its spread have severely disrupted business and consumer activity.

  • Selling Cars in China Is Worse Than Making Them
    Bloomberg

    Selling Cars in China Is Worse Than Making Them

    (Bloomberg Opinion) -- If you thought Chinese automakers were in trouble, try the companies that sell their cars.  Investors have piled into auto dealerships’ stocks, pushing some up as much as 90% over the last six months on hopes that one way or another, there will be demand. They’re still up as much as 13% since the beginning of February, when the coronavirus crisis really took hold amid the usual slow buying period of the Lunar New Year. All that without a footfall in showrooms in a country that’s gone into lockdown.With the outbreak wreaking havoc across the auto supply chain, among others, there has been hope that Beijing will throw around stimulus to get China Inc. through another rough patch. A cratering car market could lead the government to support yet more purchasing incentives and other measures directed at consumers. Already, authorities in Foshan in Guangdong province are giving consumers a 2,000 yuan to 5,000 yuan ($286 to $715) subsidy per new car bought. Households could start talking about car ownership as a safer option to public transport or ride-sharing. After weeks of empty streets, signs that traffic is picking up in bigger cities has many believing sales could get a lift.Beijing can stuff cash into consumers’ pockets but they can't drag them into showrooms. Potential buyers won’t go into dealerships and wrap their hands around a leathery steering wheel and engage with fancy gadgets if they don’t know who was touching them before. Yet as they sit at home, they’re in theory a captive audience for sales pitches leading them to dealers’ WeChat showrooms. One advertisement invites shoppers to check out cars in the online exhibition hall and “enjoy the new experience.” Online sales could boost demand, the thinking goes.Investors are perhaps reaching for cheery scenarios. Under the hood, the situation at dealerships is far worse. Earlier this month, their association pleaded with financial regulators to provide funding support due to “extreme liquidity pressure” as they expect sales to fall off a cliff. In a sign of desperation, one of the weaker but large dealerships for luxury brands like BMW AG and Jaguar Land Rover Automotive Plc tapped its existing bonds Tuesday for just $13 million at 12% for two years.Dealers have good reason to be worried. Their businesses are inherently working-capital intensive. They’re not turning inventory and sales fast enough to generate cash, and accounts receivable are stretched. Elevated inventories continue to tick up. Manufacturers can’t pay dealers on time, and dealers haven’t been able to meet sales targets that determine the rebates they get. Loan-backed sales could start to bite their auto finance arms as a weakening economy crimps consumer incomes.As for stimulus measures and online showrooms buoying sales, hopes are thinning. Ultimately, buyers need to walk into a showroom and sign documents, whether or not they can pay some fees through WeChat or other platforms. Even the likes of Alibaba Group Holdings Ltd. have tried their luck at online car sales, and it hasn’t resulted in much. As Jefferies Financial Group Inc. analysts put it, buying a car involves several interactions between buyers and other parties, including the dealer, and “the offline interaction requirements make online car sales almost impossible in the medium term.”Dealership earnings are primarily driven by new car sales. All else being equal, an increase of 50 basis points in new car sales margins boosts net profit by more than 10%, according to an analysis by HSBC Holdings Plc. Even if dealers manage to sell the heaps of cars they’re sitting on, big discounts erode margins. Other profit streams aren’t looking so strong, either. Dealers have come to rely on various fees and after-sales servicing for a big portion of their earnings. More than 40% of profits, on average, come from fees they charge for things like financing, registration and pre-delivery inspection. With competition rising, those won’t hold up. If sales are low, demand for servicing will also stagnate.Even with a helping hand from Beijing, the picture won’t change anytime soon. More than three-quarters of dealerships will struggle to reopen after the coronavirus shutdown, the industry association said, because they’re subject to cumbersome approval processes to get operations up and running again. A lack of employees because of travel restrictions and a shortage of face masks are also weighing on these companies, it said.China’s auto dealers are trading at an average 8.5 times their one-year forward earnings. For most of these companies, that’s well above their long-term average of 7.1 times. All this is much better than carmakers themselves are faring. Investors can keep waiting for demand to pick up. But misplaced optimism can take this rally only so far.To contact the author of this story: Anjani Trivedi at atrivedi39@bloomberg.netTo contact the editor responsible for this story: Patrick McDowell at pmcdowell10@bloomberg.netThis column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of Bloomberg LP and its owners.Anjani Trivedi is a Bloomberg Opinion columnist covering industrial companies in Asia. She previously worked for the Wall Street Journal. For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com/opinionSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.

  • Shares of European automakers slide after new-car sales slump in January
    MarketWatch

    Shares of European automakers slide after new-car sales slump in January

    European auto stocks suffered on Tuesday after new car sales fell 7.5% in January as the sector’s woes continued.

  • Reuters

    INSIGHT-Shades of Detroit? Germany's auto heartlands in peril as 'golden age' fades

    Two months later, they learned that the tire factory where both work would be shut down early next year. A malaise in Germany's mighty automobile industry, caused by weaker demand from abroad, stricter emission rules and electrification, is starting to leave a wider mark on Europe's largest economy by pushing up unemployment, eroding job security and hitting pay. The German auto sector is expected to cut nearly a tenth of its 830,000 jobs in the next decade, according to the VDA industry association.

  • Does Bayerische Motoren Werke Aktiengesellschaft's (ETR:BMW) P/E Ratio Signal A Buying Opportunity?
    Simply Wall St.

    Does Bayerische Motoren Werke Aktiengesellschaft's (ETR:BMW) P/E Ratio Signal A Buying Opportunity?

    This article is written for those who want to get better at using price to earnings ratios (P/E ratios). We'll look at...

  • Moody's

    Geely Automobile Holdings Limited -- Moody's: Planned merger of Geely and Volvo Car will benefit both

    Moody's Investors Service explains in a newly published report, why a merger between Geely Automobile Holdings Limited (Geely, Baa3 stable) and Volvo Car AB (Volvo Car, Ba1 stable) - if approved by regulators and shareholders - would be credit positive. "Combining Geely's business with that of Volvo would strengthen both companies' business positions by significantly enlarging their operating scales, and bring about greater geographical and brand diversification," says Gerwin Ho, a Moody's Vice President and Senior Credit Officer.

  • Barrons.com

    Tesla’s Stock Price Can’t Be Justified. Stop Trying.

    Tesla is now worth nearly $60 billion more than what Elon Musk once sought to take the company private.

  • Reuters

    U.S. ends antitrust probe of four automakers over California emissions deal- source

    The U.S. Justice Department on Friday told four automakers it had closed an antitrust investigation into a voluntary agreement the companies reached with California on emissions without taking any action, a source told Reuters. Ford Motor Co and Honda Motor Co confirmed the probe had been ended. The Trump administration in September issued a determination that California cannot set its own vehicle emission standards and had been investigating if the companies engaged in anti-competitive conduct in striking the deal.

  • Europe Pushes on With Gigafactory Plan to Rival Tesla
    Bloomberg

    Europe Pushes on With Gigafactory Plan to Rival Tesla

    (Bloomberg) -- Want the lowdown on European markets? In your inbox before the open, every day. Sign up here.Germany and France set out a blueprint for a giant battery factory, advancing Europe’s 5 billion euro ($5.5 billion) bid to rival the capacity of Tesla Inc. China to supply the key part for electric vehicles.The announcement at Germany’s Economy and Energy Ministry units underscores determination by European Union nations to catch up with Asian competitors that dominate battery making. Battery cells and add-on electronic devices and software make up as much as half the value of EVs.The facility at Groupe PSA-Opel’s site in Kaiserslautern involves Total SA’s Saft Groupe in a plant that will be named the Automotive Cell Co. The plant will cost about 2 billion euros and will complement a French factory in the Hauts de France region.Germany and France “want to build the best and most sustainable batteries” in Europe, Economy and Energy Minister Peter Altmaier said in a statement from Berlin on Friday. “I’m convinced that battery cells made in Kaiserslautern will set new standards in their CO2 footprint.”Together, the factories will cost about 5 billion euros add production capacity to 48 gigawatt-hours of batteries.Backed by the European Commission, France and Germany dangled subsidies to win over sketics within the auto industry about investing in the technology. While German companies such as Volkswagen AG and BMW AG dominate car manufacturing in Europe, they’ve allowed Asian companies and Tesla to take the lead on making batteries.Contemporary Amperex Technology Co., or CATL, and BYD Co. Ltd. of China are among the leaders in making lithium-ion battery cells, while Tesla has invested in a string of “gigafactories” to supply its luxury electric cars.The European governments also aim to incorporate tighter emission standards in production and recycling stipulations, which may create hurdles for Asian products. European battery cells “won’t be comparable with cheap Chinese products,” Altmaier said last year.The Kaiserslautern factory will be up and running by 2024 and employ 2000 people, Opel’s management board head Michael Lohscheller said. The German and French cell production sites may serve 10% to 15% of demand in Europe, said Altmaier. Germany alone is targeting 7 million to 10 million electric cars on its roads by 2030.Some 13.8 million jobs representing 6.1% of the workforce may be linked to auto manufacturing in the EU. The market for battery cells may be worth as much as 250 billion euros by mid-decade, the EU Commission said.Still, the competition from Asia is likely to be tough.CATL has gained a foothold in Germany in a factory in Thueringia state with a plant with 16 gigawatt-hours of capacity. In 2018, the Chinese company said it aims to be close to the market for for production sites of BMW AG, Volkswagen AG and Daimler AG.LG Chem Ltd is building a battery cell gigafactory in Poland, close to Eastern German car production sites. Tesla Inc. said in November that it will open an electric car production site on the outskirts of Berlin, and Northvolt AB is building a plant in Sweden.(Fixes reference in third paragraph to show factory is at a site, not near headquarters.)To contact the reporter on this story: Brian Parkin in Berlin at bparkin@bloomberg.netTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Reed Landberg at landberg@bloomberg.net, Lars PaulssonFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.

  • Barrons.com

    The U.S.’s Trade Deficit Is Shrinking. Europe Could Be Trump’s Next Target.

    The U.S. trade deficit fell for the first time in six years in 2019 as imports from China shrank, but the deficit with Europe increased.

  • Reuters

    ChargePoint teams with U.S. truck stops to expand electric vehicle adoption

    A leading electric vehicle charging network and a trade group that represents America's travel plazas and truck stops said on Thursday they plan to leverage $1 billion through public and private funding sources over the next decade to encourage the broader adoption of EVs. Automakers Volkswagen AG, General Motors Co and Ford Motor Co have announced plans to spend billions of dollars over the next several years launching EVs in a bid to directly challenge electric carmaker Tesla Inc, which has its own network of charging stations.

  • Reuters

    GM rolls back 'radical' plan to offer only 3-cylinder engines in some China cars -sources

    General Motors is backtracking on an aggressive promotion of three-cylinder engines in China that saw some Buick and Chevrolet models offered only in that option - a move which proved highly unpopular and helped sales slide, people familiar with matter said. Three-cylinder gasoline engines are cleaner and more fuel efficient than their conventional four-cylinder counterparts, and automakers are keen to promote them, particularly in China which has some of the world's most stringent fuel economy and emission rules. GM went further than competitors, discontinuing four-cylinder versions for many models in the world's largest auto market.

  • Reuters

    Beat laments Uber's Colombia departure, but will not hold back in its absence

    Ride-hailing company Beat hopes rival Uber will return to Colombia, but meanwhile, it will capitalize on the void it left and try to fill it, the company said. Colombia's ride-hailing sector was thrown into disarray in December after Uber was ordered to cease operations following a court ruling that it had violated competition rules. San Francisco-based Uber left the country last week and has since said it is considering taking the dispute to international arbitration.

  • Coronavirus Has Copper Hitting Record 12-Day Losing Streak
    Bloomberg

    Coronavirus Has Copper Hitting Record 12-Day Losing Streak

    (Bloomberg) -- No major commodity has felt the pain of the worsening coronavirus epidemic more deeply than copper.The metal has tumbled for 12 straight sessions in London, the longest retreat in more than three decades of data. Since Jan. 20 when the outbreak in China entered a new phase of severity, copper has tumbled 11%, making it the hardest-hit by the spreading pandemic among all the major commodities.Copper’s slide underscores just how crucial China’s manufacturing engine has become to global commodities markets. The economic hit to the Asian nation could exceed that seen during the SARS outbreak of 2003, according to Nomura Holdings Inc. The country’s share of global base metals demand has surged to 51% in the first 10 months of last year, from just 19% during the SARS pandemic, based on Bloomberg Intelligence estimates.Traders have been warning that the short-term outlook for commodities could be upended if manufacturers in China are forced to stay closed for longer while authorities fight to contain the spread of coronavirus. Now, with several major provinces extending public holidays, those fears look like they could be realized.“From a trading perspective, it makes sense to be cautious,” Xiao Fu, head of global commodities strategy at BOCI Global Commodities, said by phone from London. “There could be pent-up demand in the latter part of the year, but I wouldn’t be surprised to see prices moderately lower over the nearer term.”Still, there are a lot of uncertainties, and markets have a tendency to overreact.Chile, the biggest copper-producing nation, said investors may have overestimated the impact of the coronavirus on metal demand, echoing other comments that the outbreak won’t change the long-term growth picture. The nation’s currency weakened as much as 1.2% Thursday.The biggest question is what will happen in the short term. Brief disruptions in the spot market could weigh on sentiment, particularly if the extended closure of end-user businesses forces producers to unload stocks.“The delay in downstream consumers coming back to market in many provinces will likely lead to an extended build in inventory,” Colin Hamilton, managing director for commodities research at BMO Capital Markets, said in an emailed note. “Warehouse operations are also due to resume next week, though transport of material is still likely to be limited.”The impact on copper demand may start showing in the auto industry. BMW said it’s halting production at three China sites until Feb. 9, while Volkswagen’s joint venture in the country has taken a similar move.Copper for delivery in three months fell 0.9% to settle at $5,587.50 a metric ton 5:51p.m. on the London Metal Exchange. The metal is down almost 11% since Jan. 20, when reports broke that the disease that originated in central China was spreading from person-to-person and had sickened medical workers.\--With assistance from Philip Sanders.To contact the reporters on this story: Maria Elena Vizcaino in New York at mvizcaino1@bloomberg.net;Mark Burton in London at mburton51@bloomberg.netTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Luzi Ann Javier at ljavier@bloomberg.net, ;Lynn Thomasson at lthomasson@bloomberg.net, Joe RichterFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.

  • Bloomberg

    Europe's Ballyhooed “Industrial Strategy” Might Be a Disaster

    (Bloomberg Opinion) -- The European Union is getting close to unveiling a ballyhooed “industrial strategy,” the better to give the continent’s companies a leg up in competing against American and Chinese rivals. Not so fast. Based on what’s leaked so far, half of the proposals sound reasonable, but the other half could prove disastrous. It’s not too late to rethink.This latest push for an industrial strategy started last year, after the EU’s antitrust czar, Margrethe Vestager, wisely blocked a rail merger between two manufacturing giants, Alstom SA of France and Siemens AG of Germany, because their combined market power would’ve been bad for customers. Predictably, France, with its long history of coddling “national champions,” complained.More surprisingly, so did Germany, which has a tradition that favors tough competition law and otherwise eschews state intervention. What changed minds in Berlin was the perceived competitive threat from China. It would be naive for Europe not to nurse its own continental champions, Chancellor Angela Merkel said.This vogue for European champions is the product of flawed logic. It’s Eurocrat code for letting government officials, in Brussels or national capitals, designate specific companies or technologies as “strategic.” As the bureaucrats then mete out their largess, they fall into predictable mental traps.First, they tend to confuse size with strength, when it’s often small and obscure niche firms, such as the appropriately named “hidden champions” in Germany’s Mittelstand, that have the best shot at becoming globally competitive. Second, they assume that they’re better than private investors at knowing which firms and technologies will prevail. They’re wrong. The market is usually better at picking winners, and it’s always better at spotting losers and pulling money out of failing ventures that politicians want to keep on life support.What happens in practice is that the alleged champions become lobbying machines that seek privileges at the expense of taxpayers, smaller rivals and consumers. This is one of China’s big problems, and one reason why its state-owned enterprises haven’t blossomed even more. Ironically, Europe should panic only if China ever drops its industrial policy.What’s true for companies also applies to technologies. Brussels has set itself a laudable goal of becoming carbon neutral, but keeps misdefining its role as allocator of capital, rather than mere regulator. For example, the EU has just decided to put billions of taxpayer euros into a pot that also includes money from BMW AG, BASF SE, Fortum Oyj and others, to pay for those companies to build lithium-ion batteries for cars. If it’s a good investment, why can’t they do it with private capital alone? If it’s bad, why do it at all? And how did Brussels even decide that batteries are more “strategic” than, say, fuel cells or something else?The EU would be on firmer ground if it just stuck to supporting basic research. That’s where market failures are common, because boffins often have trouble raising funds for breakthroughs that could benefit entire industries rather than individual firms. As the internet once sprang out of a project by the U.S. Department of Defense, tomorrow’s green tech or artificial intelligence could come out of labs funded partially by the EU. But it’s the scientists who should choose what to research.By far the best industrial policy, however, is simply to focus all of the EU’s energy on completing two existing but unfinished projects. One is the so-called single market, the other the stalled integration of the EU’s disparate capital markets. The U.S. and China offer home-grown firms huge domestic markets to expand into, and the U.S. also provides deep and liquid troves of capital for that purpose. The EU doesn’t.The EU may be one market for goods, from toothpaste to MRI machines. But in services it just isn’t. Just ask a Belgian pharmacist hoping to move to Germany, or a Danish lawyer wanting to practice in Italy. Or imagine how much better cellphones would work if operators competed across the whole EU. A single market in services, moreover, is crucial for the development of fintechs and 5G, and in turn essential to progress in the “internet of things” and AI.A capital markets union worthy of the name is just as important. Thanks to America’s sophisticated finance markets, U.S. companies, from startups to behemoths, have easy access to cheap capital. By contrast, firms in the EU (excluding the U.K.) tend to get money from banks instead of venture capital, bond or equity markets. The money is there, but it’s divided into many national pots, so the cost of capital and hassle of raising it is unnecessarily high. Cross-border capital flows in the EU have been pretty flat since the 2008 financial crisis.So Brussels should get busy working down a long and unsexy list, from harmonizing 27 different insolvency and bankruptcy codes (a prerequisite for a common bond market) to re-regulating life insurers so they can invest across the whole EU. That way, Europe’s firms can tap into affordable funding to invent and build the things that will make them global champions.Brexit should be a wake-up call. The U.K. was usually able to deflect the worst ideas (often from France) about European industrial policy. And it was the only EU member with a top-notch capital market. Now the 27 other members must figure out alone how to stay competitive. In doing so, the EU should resist jettisoning its proven liberal principles for a crude economic nationalism. Europe won’t beat China by becoming Chinese.To contact the author of this story: Andreas Kluth at akluth1@bloomberg.netTo contact the editor responsible for this story: James Boxell at jboxell@bloomberg.netThis column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of Bloomberg LP and its owners.Andreas Kluth is a member of Bloomberg's editorial board. He was previously editor in chief of Handelsblatt Global and a writer for the Economist. For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com/opinionSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.

  • Reuters

    Trump's 'massive' U.S.-UK trade deal faces big hurdles

    Britain is the United States' closest ally but their long friendship may be sorely tested as the two countries try to forge a new trade agreement after Britain's exit from the European Union. U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said on Saturday in London that he was optimistic that a bilateral deal with Britain could be reached as soon as this year. Javid has insisted that Britain will proceed with a unilateral digital services tax, despite a U.S. threat to levy retaliatory tariffs on British-made autos.

  • Volvo Counting on Hybrid Cars to Avoid Paying Hefty CO2 Fines
    Bloomberg

    Volvo Counting on Hybrid Cars to Avoid Paying Hefty CO2 Fines

    (Bloomberg) -- Volvo Car AB is counting on tripling sales of plug-in hybrid models this year as a way to avoid paying what could amount to hundreds of millions of euros in European penalties for the sale of its more polluting yet popular combustion-engine SUVs.A fifth of all new Volvos sold in 2020 should be plug-ins or all-electric, compared with just 6.5% of the total last year, according to Chief Executive Officer Hakan Samuelsson. That would see hybrid sales rising to more than 150,000 based on the pace of growth in 2019. The company is only planning to start shipping its first fully-electric model -- the XC40 Recharge -- later this year.The stakes are high for Volvo’s electric strategy because conventional SUVs made up more than half of sales last year and are largely behind the carmaker’s success since the takeover by China’s Zhejiang Geely Holding Group Co. a decade ago. As Europe’s tough emissions rules kick in, the company could pay dearly. PA Consulting Group puts Volvo’s potential fines for this year at a quarter of annual operating profit.“Paying fines is something that just shouldn’t be in the equation,” Samuelsson said in an interview at the company’s headquarters in Gothenburg, Sweden. “That’s not part of our plans. We want to invest in product development, not in fines to Brussels.”The CEO pointed to Volvo’s goal for half of all cars sold in 2025 to be all-electric and the rest plug-in hybrids. It will relaunch its battery-powered range under the “Recharge” moniker, and while the volume of the electric XC40 will be modest this year, Volvo has the capacity to produce “tens of thousands” next year, he said.The question for Volvo and other conventional manufacturers selling cars in the EU is whether consumers will buy into the plans. Rival automakers including Daimler AG’s Mercedes-Benz, BMW AG and Volkswagen AG’s Audi are also rolling out battery-powered models. The threat of penalities for the companies, dubbed “the 2020 CO2 cliff” by Evercore IS auto analyst Arndt Ellinghorst, comes at a tricky time, when the region’s market is expected to shrink.Read more: Trump Hits EU Carmakers With Trade Threat as Outlook SoursPA Consulting Group earlier this month warned that the EU could inflict 14.5 billion euros ($16.1 billion) in fines on the region’s 13 largest carmakers for surpassing carbon-dioxide targets. The penalties will be calculated on the basis of the average emissions of new car registrations. For Volvo, they could reach 382 million euros by 2021, based on the assumption that only 14% of its sales will be all electric or plug-in hybrids, the consultancy said.Volvo’s bet on plug-ins comes despite criticism of the technology for being a half-measure that doesn’t go far enough in reducing emissions, especially as some users run them on fossil fuels without charging the battery. European sales dropped in the first nine months of last year, but according to a report by BloombergNEF are expected to rise quickly this year due to new models on the market and the emissions crackdown.Volvo’s own studies indicate its plug-ins run on battery 40% to 50% of the time. The company plans to promote recharging by paying owners’ electricity costs.“We don’t feel that there’s any reason to feel guilty about plug-in hybrids,” Samuelsson said. “Plug-ins are necessary for the transition, but it’s also a more long-term solution for those who may not have adequate access to charging.”To contact the reporter on this story: Niclas Rolander in Stockholm at nrolander@bloomberg.netTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Anthony Palazzo at apalazzo@bloomberg.net, Tara Patel, Andrew NoëlFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.

  • A Few Thousand Teslas Won't Fix China's Problems
    Bloomberg

    A Few Thousand Teslas Won't Fix China's Problems

    (Bloomberg Opinion) -- Tianqi Lithium Corp. had everything going for it: generous subsidies, Beijing’s blessing on the electric-vehicle industry it supplies, and the hype of Tesla Inc. getting its sedans off the production line in China. The only thing interrupting this nice fairy tale is the reality of demand and making money.Over the past few years, China has supported its electric-car industry by doling out large subsidies; giving preferential treatment to domestic companies; and providing large outlays for charging infrastructure. The sector has surged as a result. The kickoff of Tesla’s Model 3 in Shanghai last month sparked a fresh rally among producers of lithium – a key ingredient in batteries – and other suppliers.All this is excitement is bubbling away despite the cratering of the lithium market. After peaking more than a year and a half ago, prices have slumped over 50% and inventories have piled up. The glut, a problem China knows all too well, has weighed on producers.This reality is starting to settle in for Tianqi Lithum. Earlier this week, the company canceled its bondholder meeting as worries about repaying investors 318 million yuan ($46 million) in principal and interest loomed. Its bonds fell to just over 64 cents on the dollar from around 75 cents days earlier.While China reported its first monthly slump in electric-vehicle purchases in July, Tianqi Lithium was struggling before then. The world’s second-largest producer reported its first quarterly loss in almost six years years in September, following two quarters of declining net income.Like many fad-commodity producers before it, Tianqi Lithium is seeing the painful consequences of China’s supply and demand mismatch. The adoption of electric cars and progress on battery technology have both been slower than anticipated. Expectations were so far off the mark that despite lithium prices falling, analysts adjusted higher their estimates for the average selling price of batteries last year.Tianqi Lithium booked a 63% increase in government subsidies in the nine months to September as non-operating income from a year earlier. The government's supportive rhetoric also led the company to pile on debt as it sought stakes in Chile’s Sociedad Quimica y Minera de Chile SA and an Australian lithium mine. The company eventually financed its way to commanding a 16% share of global lithium production; but now its balance sheet looks bloated and questions about the company’s ability to refinance its debt – and at what cost – are becoming more pressing.For all the hopes pegged to its expansion and profitability, Tianqi Lithium didn’t have enough cash to cover the 3.1 billion yuan of short-term debt it owes as of September. The company has already tapped various channels of funding, from medium-term notes to an equity raising. When Moody’s Investors Service downgraded the company last month, it cited Tianqi Lithium’s inability to raise enough capital through its rights offering, saying it would have trouble deleveraging.Expectations for the electric-car industry are starting to recalibrate. With targeted subsidies shifting from cars to batteries and infrastructure, the bargaining power has moved from manufacturers of one to the other. The likes of Geely Automobile Holdings Ltd., BMW AG and Volkswagen AG are locking in long-term contracts and partnerships with battery makers, but these car giants are no longer calling the shots.Battery makers nevertheless face their share of challenges: They haven’t quite figured out how to advance technology safely, while bringing down prices and preserving margins. Any reduction in subsidies will pass through to suppliers as well. It may be time for a more realistic reassessment.Tianqi Lithium may be able to keep rolling over its debt, but that doesn’t change the fact that we’re still years away from widespread adoption of electric cars. A few thousand Teslas on the streets of China isn’t going to change that. EV suppliers may be better served keeping an eye on their balance sheets than Elon Musk’s production line.To contact the author of this story: Anjani Trivedi at atrivedi39@bloomberg.netTo contact the editor responsible for this story: Rachel Rosenthal at rrosenthal21@bloomberg.netThis column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of Bloomberg LP and its owners.Anjani Trivedi is a Bloomberg Opinion columnist covering industrial companies in Asia. She previously worked for the Wall Street Journal. For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com/opinionSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.

  • Old Electric Car Batteries May Help Cut Costs of Storing Power
    Bloomberg

    Old Electric Car Batteries May Help Cut Costs of Storing Power

    (Bloomberg) -- As major players jostle for market share in large-scale power storage, American Electric Power and Nissan Motor Co. are testing new technology that re-uses old electric vehicle batteries to slash costs.The pilot study in Ohio will road test technology that could lower system costs by about a half and extend the life of lithium-ion batteries by about a third, according to its Australian developer.Costs of energy storage systems are falling globally on technology improvements, larger manufacturing volumes, increased competition between suppliers and as the sector adds more expertise, BloombergNEF said in an October report. That’s driving an expansion in investment in projects to store power, with as much as $5 billion worth of deals possible this year for systems paired with renewable energy, according to the forecaster.American Electric’s Ohio study is using expired Nissan Leaf car batteries and is intended to test the innovations at scale after laboratory work in Australia and Japan.Results so far appear promising, Ram Sastry, American Electric’s vice president, innovation and technology, said by phone. “It’s in a facility that we own, but connected to the real grid.” he said.The technology is developed by Melbourne-based Relectrify and uses old, or second-life, vehicle batteries and reduces the number of components needed, the company said Friday in a statement. That can reduce costs for key parts of typical industrial or grid storage systems to about $150 per kilowatt hour, it said.That compares with a current average price for similar technology using new batteries of $289 a kilowatt hour, according to the BloombergNEF 2019 Energy Storage System Costs Survey.Companies like BMW AG and Toyota Motor Corp. are already putting re-used cells to work in applications including renewable energy storage, electric vehicle charging, and to power street lights and homes. About three-quarters of vehicle batteries are eventually likely to be reused, according to London-based researcher Circular Energy Storage.Cheaper energy storage with batteries could provide an alternative to adding more capacity at electricity substations, or building more transformers. It could also be harnessed to provide backup power and bolster reliability for consumers, according to American Electric’s Sastry.“There are many use cases that we have for batteries that are predicated on the cost,” he said. “If the battery goes lower in cost, it can compete with the wires.”Yet even as the price of lithium-ion battery cells has fallen, it’s been difficult to reduce costs of components such inverters. “The inverter is the Achilles heel of energy storage,” said Bradley Smith, president of Covington, Louisiana-based Beauvoir Consulting Services and previously an executive developing second-life battery products at Nissan.Relectrify’s system reduces the need for separate electronics for both the inverter and battery management system, lowering costs, Smith said.The technology can also extend the lifespan of either reused or new batteries by offering more precise management of individual cells, according to Valentin Muenzel, CEO of Relectrify, a 14-person firm launched in 2015 that’s collaborated with companies including Volkswagen AG and International Business Machines Corp.Some potential end users remain wary of re-using lithium-ion batteries over concerns about their longevity and costs of re-purposing cells, according to BNEF’s head of clean power Logan Goldie-Scot.“Many customers are not yet comfortable with second-life batteries even at a steep discount,” he said. Tesla Inc. has in the past suggested it will favor recycling spent packs from vehicles to recover raw materials, rather than seek to re-use the cells first.Relectrify, which is holding talks with battery manufacturers and distributors, sees potential to eventually help improve performance of batteries for the auto sector, in addition to energy storage.“We see stationary storage as the low hanging fruit,” Muenzel said. “We’re already getting demand for use in some mobility applications and we expect that is an area that will continue to grow with time.”To contact the reporter on this story: David Stringer in Melbourne at dstringer3@bloomberg.netTo contact the editor responsible for this story: Alexander Kwiatkowski at akwiatkowsk2@bloomberg.netFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.

  • Reuters

    DAVOS-Trump threatens big tariffs on car imports from EU

    U.S. President Donald Trump on Wednesday threatened to impose high tariffs on imports of cars from the European Union if the bloc doesn't agree to a trade deal. Trump has previously made threats to place duties on European automobile imports, with the intent of receiving better terms in the U.S.-Europe trade relationship. Trump has delayed imposing the tariffs a number of times.

  • Reuters

    Trump says middle class tax cut to be announced over next 90 days- Fox Business

    U.S. President Donald Trump said on Wednesday a tax cut for the middle class would be announced over the next 90 days. "We are going to be doing a middle class tax cut, a very big one," Trump told Fox Business in an interview https://www.foxbusiness.com/politics/trump-says-tax-cuts-health-care-and-trade-deals-are-ahead. Trump also threatened of imposing 25% tariffs on cars from the European Union, if a deal was not struck.

  • Bugatti, Aston Martin, and other historic cars to sell at auction that could generate $60 million
    Yahoo Finance

    Bugatti, Aston Martin, and other historic cars to sell at auction that could generate $60 million

    The collector car world is racing to London this April for the chance to buy rare and historic Buggati and Aston Martin automobiles that promise to outperform recent sputtering sales.