Ensurge Micropower — Expecting to ship samples ‘shortly’

Ensurge Micropower (OSE: ENSU)

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Research: TMT

Ensurge Micropower — Expecting to ship samples ‘shortly’

Ensurge Micropower’s CEO took the opportunity in the recent Q122 results presentation to brief investors on the status of the company’s programme to ship samples of its milliampere hour (mAh) scale solid-state lithium microbatteries to customers. The company expects to deliver samples to its customers ‘shortly’. This is discussed in the body of this note. Ensurge already has agreements with five customers waiting for the samples.

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Written by

TMT

Ensurge Micropower

Expecting to ship samples ‘shortly’

Tech hardware & equipment

Spotlight - Update

6 June 2022

Price

NOK2.86

Market cap

NOK608m

Share price graph

Share details

Code

ENSU

Listing

OSLO & OTCQB

Shares in issue

212.7m

Last reported net cash ($m) at 31 March 2022 (excluding $1.6m restricted cash and $10.6m finance leases)

1.3

Business description

Ensurge Micropower’s solid-state lithium battery technology combines advanced energy cell design with proprietary materials and manufacturing innovation to produce thin, flexible batteries that can power safer and more capable wearable devices and connected sensors.

Bull

The high-energy density, flexible form factor, enhanced cycling and improved safety features of solid-state batteries are highly suitable for the hearables and medical wearables markets.

Markets for microbatteries already established.

When fully equipped, Ensurge’s volume manufacturing facility will be able to generate c $100m EBITDA.

Bear

Ensurge has yet to generate meaningful revenues from microbattery sales.

Revenue growth dependent on companies incorporating microbatteries in their products.

Management has identified a probable funding gap in Q322.

Analyst

Anne Margaret Crow

+44 (0)20 3077 5700

Ensurge Micropower is a research client of Edison Investment Research Limited

Ensurge Micropower’s CEO took the opportunity in the recent Q122 results presentation to brief investors on the status of the company’s programme to ship samples of its milliampere hour (mAh) scale solid-state lithium microbatteries to customers. The company expects to deliver samples to its customers ‘shortly’. This is discussed in the body of this note. Ensurge already has agreements with five customers waiting for the samples.

Historical financials

Year
end

Revenue
($m)

EBITDA
($m)

PBT*
($m)

EPS*
($)

DPS
($)

P/E
(x)

Yield
(%)

12/18**

3.4

(49.3)

(54.3)

(0.93)

0.00

N/A

N/A

12/19**

1.2

(30.6)

(35.9)

(0.61)

0.00

N/A

N/A

12/20

0.5**

(11.3)

(14.9)

(0.04)

0.00

N/A

N/A

12/21

0.0

(14.6)

(17.2)

(0.01)

0.00

N/A

N/A

Source: Company accounts. Note: *PBT and EPS are normalised, excluding amortisation of acquired intangibles, exceptional items and share-based payments. **Discontinued business.

Losses widen as company prepares for production

Ensurge did not generate any revenues during Q122. Payroll costs were $0.6m higher year-on-year at $2.1m as management invested in engineering and manufacturing personnel, resulting in a widening of EBITDA losses, excluding share-based payments, by $0.6m to $3.8m. Investment in capital expenditure was only $0.2m as most of the work adapting the roll-to-roll (R2R) facility for volume manufacture of microbatteries was completed in FY21. All R&D activity was expensed. Free cash outflow totalled $5.2m.

February placing extends cash runway into Q322

In February 2022, Ensurge completed a private placement and share allocation at NOK5.4/share (after adjusting for a share consolidation), which raised $10.9m net and left it with $10.1m cash (excluding restricted cash) at end March 2022. The company also issued warrants with an exercise price of NOK5.40. 50% of these are exercisable at end June 2022, potentially raising up to NOK50m ($5.2m), the other 50% at end November 2022, also potentially raising up to NOK50m. Management notes that Ensurge has sufficient funds to support operations into Q322 and is seeking alternative sources of financing to continue operations beyond that.

Valuation: Potential market of over 1bn units a year

Ensurge is initially targeting the medical wearables and hearables markets, followed by the connected sensor and sport & fitness wearables markets. Our scenario analysis calculates that a 5–10% share of these markets represents annual revenues of $330–550m and EBITDA of $211–365m. Management has stated that when the R2R factory in San Jose is fully utilised it could potentially generate EBITDA of more than $100m, depending on product mix.

Expecting to ship samples ‘shortly’

Ensurge notes that there are three key steps in producing customer samples, and that it has completed the first two and has identified how to complete the final one.

Building individual unit cells

Ensurge has successfully built unit cells that consistently achieved the required capacity and cycling metrics for customer samples. Importantly, the cells charge three times more quickly than conventional lithium-ion battery cells and can achieve a 5C high-pulse discharge, which is very important for applications which include high-frequency communications.

Validating packaging technology

Ensurge has confirmed that the packaging technology provides an effective hermetic seal, preventing air and moisture from penetrating the battery and degrading the lithium cycling performance. It has also confirmed that the internal packaging materials used remain neutral throughout battery operation. Management noted that Ensurge can build individual cells into a stack with high yields.

Integration of microbatteries

Ensurge has successfully integrated battery cell processing, stacking and packaging microbatteries. This is particularly notable given the relative difficulty of handling the ultrathin (10-micron) steel substrate required to achieve the flexibility and energy density required. However, the resultant microbatteries do not consistently meet the initial target cycling performance yet, although the company has identified a solution to meet this parameter which is undergoing cycle-life testing.

Delivery to customers

Once the lifecycle testing process has finished, potentially validating the solution, Ensurge will need to produce sufficient quantities of packaged and cycle-tested microbatteries for its customers to try out in their products. CEO Kevin Barber has reiterated that the company expects to deliver samples to its customers ‘shortly’.

Reducing development cycle time

The experience gained during the development process has enabled Ensurge to halve the time it takes to manufacture and test each new iteration of the microbattery. It currently takes around nine days to complete the front end of the process, which is manufacturing the unit cells. Then it takes an additional nine days for the packaging step. Testing the complete microbattery typically takes two weeks.

Protecting IP

The company has recently filed several provisional patent applications for its technology. The applications cover core inventions and manufacturing processes that integrate battery fabrication, packaging, stacking and materials innovation; package architectures and the atomic-scale interface and layer engineering which enables fast charge/discharge times and long cycle life while improving battery manufacturability.

Market opportunity remains strong

Filling industry gap for mAh scale solid-state microbatteries

Customers are keen to use Ensurge’s solid-state batteries as a replacement for conventional coin and button batteries in hearing aids, because the switch enables them to either reduce the size and weight of devices or increase the time between battery charges, as well as providing devices that charge more quickly and only need the batteries changing every three or four years. Customers in the connected sensors and sports wearables markets are also interested in the novel form factors available with Ensurge’s solid-state microbattery, without which some of their product designs are not viable. In addition, Ensurge’s microbattery is reflow compatible, which makes it much easier to integrate into a circuit board than conventional lithium-ion batteries and enables it to be integrated into products which are moulded at high temperatures, which cannot be done with conventional lithium-ion batteries. The review of the competitive landscape we carried out in March showed that other companies developing solid-state batteries are either limited to capacities of several hundred µAh (1000 µAh = 1 mAh) or are developing much larger batteries for electric vehicles. Ensurge’s microbattery supports the 1–100 mAh capacities required by the hearables, medical wearables and sports wearables sectors, which other microbattery companies will struggle to address.

Five customers already signed up

Ensurge has already signed agreements with five customers. These include a Fortune 500 industrial company active in manufacturing capital equipment, a customer in the digital health market, two agreements in the medical hearables market and one in the broader wearables market. Ensurge is currently helping these customers to build printed circuits which will include its microbatteries. It has already delivered mechanical samples to help customers design circuit boards so there is minimal delay to their product launch schedules. These five customers will receive samples first. Ensurge is also in discussion with 12 other companies operating in the wearables and Internet of Things (IoT) sectors.

Exhibit 1: Commercial pipeline

Status

Number of customers

Applications

Agreement signed

5

Digital health (wearable)
Fitness (wearable)
Hearing health (hearable) – customer A
Hearing health (hearable) – customer B
Industrial (Internet of Things)

Active engagement

7

Wearables – eye, ear, wrist and other

Active engagement

5

Internet of Things – sports equipment, automotive, personal hygiene and other

Next targets

10-15

Wearables – eye, ear, wrist and other

Broader pipeline

50+

Broader pipeline of identified targets

Source: Ensurge Micropower

First microbattery revenues expected Q422

Ensurge intends to start generating revenues from microbattery sales in Q422. Management expects that the initial revenues will be attributable to smaller companies with faster development cycles where the flexibility of form factor offered by Ensurge’s microbattery technology is essential. The larger companies with longer development cycles are likely to introduce products incorporating Ensurge’s micro-batteries in H223.

Valuation: Addressing a market of over 1bn units/year

Since Ensurge is still at the pre-revenue stage with regards to its solid-state battery technology, we continue to present a scenario analysis rather than a formal valuation based on peer multiples. Referencing research from IDTechEx and others, management notes that the medical wearables, hearables, connected sensor and sport & fitness wearables markets are predicted to grow to more than one billion units per year by 2025. As discussed in our March note, these markets require batteries in the 1 mAh to 70 mAh capacity range. This capacity range is already covered by conventional lithium-ion batteries, though the relative size of lithium-ion batteries compared to solid-state batteries makes it likely that a material percentage of device manufactures will elect to pay a premium for the solid-state option. Consequently, while we note that Farnell sells 5.5mAh conventional lithium-ion rechargeable coin cells from Seiko Instruments for £1.34–2.99 (ex-VAT) depending on volume required, Ensurge has had detailed conversations with potential customers with which it has shared design details and in H121 stated that it believed a price of $3–10/unit was achievable.

Exhibit 2: Potential annual revenues from milliwatt hour market ($m)

Market share (%)

1%

3%

5%

7%

10%

Price/unit
($)

1

11

33

55

77

110

2

22

66

110

154

220

3

33

99

165

231

330

5

55

165

275

385

550

7

77

231

385

539

770

10

110

330

550

770

1,100

Source: Edison Investment Research

Our scenario analysis presents the annual revenues realisable from these markets for a range of unit prices and levels of market penetration. The analysis shows that a 5–10% share of these markets at a $3–10 price range represents annual revenues of $330–550m. Based on previous management guidance of c $20m fixed costs (current levels are $14.6m), and 30% variable costs, this gives an EBITDA range of $211–365m. Management notes that when the R2R factory in San Jose is fully utilised it should be able to output several hundred million mAh of batteries each year, potentially generating EBITDA of more than $100m depending on product mix.

Exhibit 3: Financial summary

$m

2018*

2019*

2020

2021

Year-end December

IFRS

IFRS

IFRS

IFRS

PROFIT & LOSS

Revenue

 

 

3.4

1.2

0.5*

0.0

EBITDA

 

 

(49.3)

(30.6)

(11.3)

(14.6)

Operating Profit (before amort. and except.)

 

 

(53.3)

(34.5)

(11.4)

(14.6)

Intangible Amortisation

0.0

0.0

0.0

0.0

Exceptionals

(15.6)

(42.4)

0.0

0.0

Share-based payments

(1.8)

(0.2)

(0.7)

(4.9)

Operating Profit

(70.6)

(77.1)

(12.0)

(19.6)

Net interest

(1.1)

(1.4)

(3.6)

(2.6)

Exceptional charges relating to issue of warrants

0.0

0.0

(23.2)

(8.8)

Profit Before Tax (norm)

 

 

(54.3)

(35.9)

(14.9)

(17.2)

Profit Before Tax (FRS 3)

 

 

(71.7)

(78.5)

(38.8)

(31.0)

Tax

(0.0)

0.0

0.0

0.0

Profit After Tax (norm)

(54.4)

(35.9)

(14.9)

(17.2)

Profit After Tax (FRS 3)

(71.7)

(78.4)

(38.8)

(31.0)

Average Number of Shares Outstanding (m)

58.6

58.6

393.2

1,368.3

EPS - normalised ($)

 

 

(0.93)

(0.61)

(0.04)

(0.01)

EPS - (IFRS) ($)

 

 

(1.22)

(1.34)

(0.10)

(0.02)

Dividend per share ($)

0.00

0.00

0.00

0.00

EBITDA Margin (%)

N/A

N/A

N/A

N/A

Operating Margin (before GW and except.) (%)

N/A

N/A

N/A

N/A

BALANCE SHEET

Fixed Assets

 

 

35.3

0.6

0.8

2.6

Intangible Assets

2.4

0.0

0.0

0.0

Tangible Assets

22.5

0.0

0.2

2.0

Other

10.4

0.6

0.6

0.6

Current Assets

 

 

44.1

11.7

6.9

8.7

Stocks

2.6

0.0

0.0

0.0

Debtors

8.9

2.8

1.1

1.8

Cash excluding restricted cash

31.0

7.3

4.2

5.3

Restricted cash

1.6

1.6

1.6

1.6

Current Liabilities

 

 

(8.1)

(6.8)

(32.7)

(8.0)

Creditors

(8.1)

(5.5)

(29.5)

(4.1)

Short term borrowings

0.0

(1.4)

(3.2)

(3.9)

Long Term Liabilities

 

 

(11.5)

(25.1)

(21.9)

(16.8)

Long term borrowings excluding finance leases

0.0

(11.8)

(9.7)

(5.9)

Other long-term liabilities

(11.5)

(13.2)

(12.2)

(10.9)

Net Assets

 

 

59.7

(19.7)

(46.9)

(13.4)

CASH FLOW

Operating Cash Flow

 

 

(52.3)

(29.1)

(11.9)

(14.6)

Net Interest

0.3

(1.4)

(3.2)

(3.2)

Tax

(0.1)

0.0

0.0

0.0

Capex

(11.2)

(5.1)

(0.3)

(1.8)

Acquisitions/disposals

0.0

0.0

0.0

0.0

Financing

(0.0)

0.0

13.3

25.2

Dividend payments and Other items

(1.6)

0.0

0.0

0.0

Net Cash Flow

(64.9)

(35.5)

(2.1)

5.6

Opening net debt/(cash) excluding finance leases and restricted cash

 

(96.5)

(31.0)

5.9

8.8

Finance leases initiated

0.0

0.0

0.0

0.0

Other

(0.6)

(1.4)

(0.7)

(1.3)

Closing net debt/(cash) excluding finance leases and restricted cash

 

(31.0)

5.9

8.8

4.5

Source: Company reports. Note: *Discontinued business.

General disclaimer and copyright

This report has been commissioned by Ensurge Micropower and prepared and issued by Edison, in consideration of a fee payable by Ensurge Micropower. Edison Investment Research standard fees are £60,000 pa for the production and broad dissemination of a detailed note (Outlook) following by regular (typically quarterly) update notes. Fees are paid upfront in cash without recourse. Edison may seek additional fees for the provision of roadshows and related IR services for the client but does not get remunerated for any investment banking services. We never take payment in stock, options or warrants for any of our services.

Accuracy of content: All information used in the publication of this report has been compiled from publicly available sources that are believed to be reliable, however we do not guarantee the accuracy or completeness of this report and have not sought for this information to be independently verified. Opinions contained in this report represent those of the research department of Edison at the time of publication. Forward-looking information or statements in this report contain information that is based on assumptions, forecasts of future results, estimates of amounts not yet determinable, and therefore involve known and unknown risks, uncertainties and other factors which may cause the actual results, performance or achievements of their subject matter to be materially different from current expectations.

Exclusion of Liability: To the fullest extent allowed by law, Edison shall not be liable for any direct, indirect or consequential losses, loss of profits, damages, costs or expenses incurred or suffered by you arising out or in connection with the access to, use of or reliance on any information contained on this note.

No personalised advice: The information that we provide should not be construed in any manner whatsoever as, personalised advice. Also, the information provided by us should not be construed by any subscriber or prospective subscriber as Edison’s solicitation to effect, or attempt to effect, any transaction in a security. The securities described in the report may not be eligible for sale in all jurisdictions or to certain categories of investors.

Investment in securities mentioned: Edison has a restrictive policy relating to personal dealing and conflicts of interest. Edison Group does not conduct any investment business and, accordingly, does not itself hold any positions in the securities mentioned in this report. However, the respective directors, officers, employees and contractors of Edison may have a position in any or related securities mentioned in this report, subject to Edison's policies on personal dealing and conflicts of interest.

Copyright: Copyright 2022 Edison Investment Research Limited (Edison).

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London +44 (0)20 3077 5700

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United Kingdom

New York +1 646 653 7026

1185 Avenue of the Americas

3rd Floor, New York, NY 10036

United States of America

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General disclaimer and copyright

This report has been commissioned by Ensurge Micropower and prepared and issued by Edison, in consideration of a fee payable by Ensurge Micropower. Edison Investment Research standard fees are £60,000 pa for the production and broad dissemination of a detailed note (Outlook) following by regular (typically quarterly) update notes. Fees are paid upfront in cash without recourse. Edison may seek additional fees for the provision of roadshows and related IR services for the client but does not get remunerated for any investment banking services. We never take payment in stock, options or warrants for any of our services.

Accuracy of content: All information used in the publication of this report has been compiled from publicly available sources that are believed to be reliable, however we do not guarantee the accuracy or completeness of this report and have not sought for this information to be independently verified. Opinions contained in this report represent those of the research department of Edison at the time of publication. Forward-looking information or statements in this report contain information that is based on assumptions, forecasts of future results, estimates of amounts not yet determinable, and therefore involve known and unknown risks, uncertainties and other factors which may cause the actual results, performance or achievements of their subject matter to be materially different from current expectations.

Exclusion of Liability: To the fullest extent allowed by law, Edison shall not be liable for any direct, indirect or consequential losses, loss of profits, damages, costs or expenses incurred or suffered by you arising out or in connection with the access to, use of or reliance on any information contained on this note.

No personalised advice: The information that we provide should not be construed in any manner whatsoever as, personalised advice. Also, the information provided by us should not be construed by any subscriber or prospective subscriber as Edison’s solicitation to effect, or attempt to effect, any transaction in a security. The securities described in the report may not be eligible for sale in all jurisdictions or to certain categories of investors.

Investment in securities mentioned: Edison has a restrictive policy relating to personal dealing and conflicts of interest. Edison Group does not conduct any investment business and, accordingly, does not itself hold any positions in the securities mentioned in this report. However, the respective directors, officers, employees and contractors of Edison may have a position in any or related securities mentioned in this report, subject to Edison's policies on personal dealing and conflicts of interest.

Copyright: Copyright 2022 Edison Investment Research Limited (Edison).

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Edison Investment Research Pty Ltd (Edison AU) is the Australian subsidiary of Edison. Edison AU is a Corporate Authorised Representative (1252501) of Crown Wealth Group Pty Ltd who holds an Australian Financial Services Licence (Number: 494274). This research is issued in Australia by Edison AU and any access to it, is intended only for "wholesale clients" within the meaning of the Corporations Act 2001 of Australia. Any advice given by Edison AU is general advice only and does not take into account your personal circumstances, needs or objectives. You should, before acting on this advice, consider the appropriateness of the advice, having regard to your objectives, financial situation and needs. If our advice relates to the acquisition, or possible acquisition, of a particular financial product you should read any relevant Product Disclosure Statement or like instrument.

New Zealand

The research in this document is intended for New Zealand resident professional financial advisers or brokers (for use in their roles as financial advisers or brokers) and habitual investors who are “wholesale clients” for the purpose of the Financial Advisers Act 2008 (FAA) (as described in sections 5(c) (1)(a), (b) and (c) of the FAA). This is not a solicitation or inducement to buy, sell, subscribe, or underwrite any securities mentioned or in the topic of this document. For the purpose of the FAA, the content of this report is of a general nature, is intended as a source of general information only and is not intended to constitute a recommendation or opinion in relation to acquiring or disposing (including refraining from acquiring or disposing) of securities. The distribution of this document is not a “personalised service” and, to the extent that it contains any financial advice, is intended only as a “class service” provided by Edison within the meaning of the FAA (i.e. without taking into account the particular financial situation or goals of any person). As such, it should not be relied upon in making an investment decision.

United Kingdom

This document is prepared and provided by Edison for information purposes only and should not be construed as an offer or solicitation for investment in any securities mentioned or in the topic of this document. A marketing communication under FCA Rules, this document has not been prepared in accordance with the legal requirements designed to promote the independence of investment research and is not subject to any prohibition on dealing ahead of the dissemination of investment research.

This Communication is being distributed in the United Kingdom and is directed only at (i) persons having professional experience in matters relating to investments, i.e. investment professionals within the meaning of Article 19(5) of the Financial Services and Markets Act 2000 (Financial Promotion) Order 2005, as amended (the "FPO") (ii) high net-worth companies, unincorporated associations or other bodies within the meaning of Article 49 of the FPO and (iii) persons to whom it is otherwise lawful to distribute it. The investment or investment activity to which this document relates is available only to such persons. It is not intended that this document be distributed or passed on, directly or indirectly, to any other class of persons and in any event and under no circumstances should persons of any other description rely on or act upon the contents of this document.

This Communication is being supplied to you solely for your information and may not be reproduced by, further distributed to or published in whole or in part by, any other person.

United States

Edison relies upon the "publishers' exclusion" from the definition of investment adviser under Section 202(a)(11) of the Investment Advisers Act of 1940 and corresponding state securities laws. This report is a bona fide publication of general and regular circulation offering impersonal investment-related advice, not tailored to a specific investment portfolio or the needs of current and/or prospective subscribers. As such, Edison does not offer or provide personal advice and the research provided is for informational purposes only. No mention of a particular security in this report constitutes a recommendation to buy, sell or hold that or any security, or that any particular security, portfolio of securities, transaction or investment strategy is suitable for any specific person.

Frankfurt +49 (0)69 78 8076 960

Schumannstrasse 34b

60325 Frankfurt

Germany

London +44 (0)20 3077 5700

280 High Holborn

London, WC1V 7EE

United Kingdom

New York +1 646 653 7026

1185 Avenue of the Americas

3rd Floor, New York, NY 10036

United States of America

Sydney +61 (0)2 8249 8342

Level 4, Office 1205

95 Pitt Street, Sydney

NSW 2000, Australia

Frankfurt +49 (0)69 78 8076 960

Schumannstrasse 34b

60325 Frankfurt

Germany

London +44 (0)20 3077 5700

280 High Holborn

London, WC1V 7EE

United Kingdom

New York +1 646 653 7026

1185 Avenue of the Americas

3rd Floor, New York, NY 10036

United States of America

Sydney +61 (0)2 8249 8342

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Research: Healthcare

Midatech Pharma — MTX110’s path to market fast-tracked in rGBM

In a positive development, Midatech has announced the US FDA has granted fast-track designation for its lead clinical asset, MTX110 in recurrent glioblastoma (rGBM). This should allow to company to apply for a fast-track approval and a potentially faster market entry, provided supportive Phase II data are obtained. MTX110 is expected to start a Phase I study in (rGBM) in mid-2022 with early progression-free survival data expected by Q422. The stock closed up 24.4% following the announcement.

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