Not many investors will get the chance to speak such gleeful words, but shareholders of Advanced Battery Technologies (Nasdaq: ABAT.OB ) can boldly shout out loud today that their shares jumped 278% in one day.
The China-based manufacturer of batteries -- specifically lithium polymer batteries for use in electric cars and buses -- saw its shares rise from opening at $0.55 to close at $2.08 with a whopping 900,000 shares traded, compared with the normal average daily volume of a measly 7,000.
Yesterday, Advanced Battery announced signing a development agreement to use Altair Nanotechnologies' (Nasdaq: ALTI ) battery electrode nano-materials for its existing polymer lithium-Ion battery product lines. Altair rose by a more leisurely 15% yesterday when the news broke.
We recently wrote of Altair'sreleased data on the reportedly stunning performance breakthroughs that its patented nanomaterial could bring to the rechargeable-battery market -- recharge rates measured in minutes instead of hours for electric vehicles and cycle life of the battery more than 20 times greater than current battery technology. We noted that "if [Altair] can sign agreements with the battery manufacturers, then Altair is poised for extraordinary growth."
Advanced Battery Technologies, as its penny-stock status suggests, is a very, very small player in the multibillion-dollar battery market, with only $1.5 million of sales last year. Interesting to note that in its press release, Altair mentions that ABT employs 1,200 people and is forecasting $40 million in sales for 2005. We have no idea where Altair got those figures, and we suspect our ignorance is universal. According to ABAT's 10-K filed only last week:
"Advanced Battery Technologies, Inc. is a holding company with one subsidiary: Cashtech Investment Limited, a British Virgin Islands corporation. Cashtech Investment Limited has only one asset, which is 70% of the capital stock of Heilongjiang ZhongQiang Power-Tech Co., Ltd., a China limited liability company ("ZQ Power-Tech"). Advanced Battery has only two employees: its Chairman and its Secretary. ZQ Power-Tech has 360 employees. 28 are involved in administration and 8 in marketing."
ABT also mentioned a canceled contract worth $25 million that it hopes will be renewed sometime in 2005, but that is still not $40 million.
If the technology is as good as Altair claims, we are surprised to note it is a small Chinese niche producer that was first to ink a deal of any description. That is not to take anything away from Altair, which is still free to sign other players. The deal is a mutually exclusive one leaving both parties free to maneuver, but we will begin to call the technology one with Rule Breaker potential only if and when the big guns in battery manufacturing -- Sony, Sanyo, and Gillette (NYSE: G ) -- line up at Altair's door.
We cannot say whether Advanced Battery is now worth three times its value of 24 hours earlier. We do not own shares since we do not buy penny stocks, but if we did, we know what we would be doing with those profits today.
Come on, Altair; you claim you have a world-beating technology. Get out and sell it!
We want to promote nano-inspired commercial breakthroughs. We want to find the Rule Breakers it will produce. But give us more than a Chinese holding company, and give us accurate information in your press releases. Then perhaps we will give you some benefit of the doubt.
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