Thursday, May 20, 2010

"Is There Hope for Battery Maker A123?" (AONE)

I somehow managed to avoid this one [citigroup roundtrip $3.86 to $5 to $3.61? -ed]
The stock is trading down 5.2% at $9.48, above its flash crash lows.
From Shifting Gears:

A123 (AONE), a startup battery maker based in Massachusetts that staged last year’s most highly touted IPO, turned in somewhat disappointing first-quarter financial results. This is one of those high-tech, greentech, Economy 2.0 companies that everyone wants to see succeed, but that may be at the heart of, and in fact may even define, an investment bubble in lithium-ion batteries for electric cars.

Analyst Stephen Simpson sums it all up in Investopedia:

A123 is not a stock for the faint of heart. Rival technologies could prove to be more desirable in the market and stocks like these are known for wild moves up and down in the meantime. On top of that, the odds that A123 actually realizes its plans are relatively low. If the technology works as well as it should, it is more likely that the company gets a bid by a rival like Johnson Controls or some other large company - like, say, General Electric. Nevertheless, for investors who can handle a potentially wild ride, this is an interesting name for further due diligence.

His views aren’t out of the mainstream. For background, the Wall Street Journal has A123’s basic story:

The company went public at $13.50 in September, jumping 50% in its first day of trading. But the shares have been under pressure since the beginning of the year--dropping 50% year to date, well off their high of $28.20 from October.

The company, formed in 2001 with a grant from the U.S. Department of Energy, made its first sale about three years ago. While revenue has been rising, so have net losses. A123 probably won't be profitable until next year, at the earliest....MORE