Electrovaya could be poised for breakout year

Hamilton%2C%20Tyler45X64.jpgPosted by Tyler Hamilton
Lithium-ion battery maker Electrovaya Inc. may finally be turning a slew of promising partnerships and MOUs over the past two years into more than just words. The Mississauga-based company ended 2009 on a positive note, announcing in its year-end results that revenue jumped roughly 50 per cent and losses shrunk from over $4 million to less than $600,000. “Fiscal 2009 marked a turning point for Electrovaya,” said chief executive Sankar Das Gupta in a statement. electrovaya-maya300-262X128.jpg“Over the course of the past year we have increased our presence in the global market for lithium ion batteries used for electrification of vehicles and for smart grid applications.” He emphasized that Electrovaya, for the first time, showed a profit in its most recent quarter 0f $549,000, what Das Gupta hailed as a “significant achievement.”
To put this into perspective, Electrovaya is still a small fry in the global battery game, pulling in less than $4 million in revenues last year. It’s also an increasingly crowded market, with players like A123, EnerDel, Advanced Lithium, Altair, Panasonic, Boston Power and a slew of others battling for electric-car supremacy. And while it has a history of touting partnerships that haven’t gone anywhere, even if just a fraction bear fruit it could elevate Electrovaya above the noise. And forget about the U.S. market, I’m talking Asia and the deals this company have brokered in India, China and Japan. Just last month it announced an MOU with India’s HEROElectric to jointly developed electric scooters and motorcycles (unlike in China, where electric bicycles are more popular, the East Indian crowd prefers scooters and motorcycles). HEROElectric controls half the market in India for two-wheelers, so it’s not such a bad partner to have. In November it signed another MOU with Japan’s Nippon Kouatsu Electric Co. to co-develop smart grid stationary battery systems based on its Lithium Ion SuperPolymer cell technology, and in late 2008 it signed an MOU with Chana International Corp., China’s third-largest automaker, to develop zero-emission electric cars. Significantly, Chana has joint ventures with Ford, Mazda and Suzuki. Electrovaya is also a partner with India’s Tata Motors as part of a joint-venture to manufacture its batteries in Norway.

As would be expected, Electrovaya is doing a good job leveraging its own connections to India.
These are all potentially positive announcements. Problem with Electrovaya is that little is known about all these partnerships since their announcement. How is the Norway manufacturing plant progressing? Are the Chinese MOUs moving forward or have they fizzled? That the company has turned a corner by reporting profitability in its fourth quarter, and by announcing some solid revenue growth in 2009, may be a sign that some of the groundwork laid in 2008 and 2009 is beginning to pay off. Certainly a Canadian cleantech company to watch in 2010.

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