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by Debra Fiakas CFA
NYSE) has staked its future on zinc bromide. Batteries using
zinc-bromide consist of a zinc negative electrode and a bromine
positive electrode with a porous separator in between them.
Unlike conventional batteries, these electrodes do not take part in
the reactions but merely serve as substrates for the energy
reactions. Thus there is no loss of performance from repeated
cycling causing electrode material deterioration. The
zinc-bromine battery can provide two to three times the energy
density of lead/acid batteries.
Excellent energy density and long life make zinc-bromide batteries
particularly attractive as storage for wind or solar power
generation systems. ZBB has taken its batteries to a higher
level, configuring its batteries in to power plant systems.
ZBB has developed a clutch of energy storage and power control
products. Besides its energy storage devices, the company
provides controller technology for hybrid motor vehicles
systems. A number of markets are ZBB’s sights:
micro-grids, commercial building back-up power, power solutions in
remote locations, electric vehicles charging are just a few
The company generated $7.0 million in sales in the last twelve
months. Admittedly, that is a small number. However,
recent sales have ramped dramatically over the past three years,
suggesting ZBB is gaining traction in the market place. Losses
are still deep - net loss in the last twelve months was
$11.6 million. Building market share should cover those losses
The problem is that ZBB might not have enough cash on its balance
sheet to support the company to the point that sales cover
expenses. The company used $6.5 million in cash for operations
over the last twelve months, but only has $3.1 million in cash on
its balance sheet. That bit of cash comes from a bridge
financing the company completed in late September 2013. If
operations continue to use cash at the same pace, it is likely that
half of that money will be gone before the year is over.
With cash resources stretched thin, it is not surprising that the
stock is trading near a 52-week low. On the plus size the
nominal price near $0.60 means a long position in ZBB has a price
tag more like an option. The energy storage market is just
developing and it appears ZBB Energy has a chance to grab a piece of
Debra Fiakas is the Managing Director of Crystal Equity
Research, an alternative
research resource on small capitalization companies in selected
Neither the author of the Small Cap
Strategist web log,
Crystal Equity Research nor its affiliates have a beneficial
interest in the companies mentioned herein.
This week the Ontario government released its Long-Term Energy Plan (LTEP), which balances a big ramp-up in renewable energy and notable pullback in nuclear.