As the widespread adoption of electric cars gradually becomes reality, battery power is brightening the outlook for some commodities. This emerging theme appears set to drive increased demand for a surprisingly broad array of commodities – some with very little historical industrial demand, and others with a long history of industrial usage. Here our Global Resources team look at one stock positioned to benefit from shifting resources demand.
While investors scuffle for ways to benefit from the surge in battery power, we favour LG Chem (KRX:051910), one of the global leaders in lithium ion battery technology. A deep dive into the broader battery supply chain, where we explored upstream materials like graphite, cobalt, lithium, copper and nickel to downstream Electric Vehicle (EV) manufacturers like Tesla, revealed two compelling reasons to invest:
The automobile industry is committed to the future of electric vehicles
They see a big change coming for their market and don’t want to be left behind. Ford is spending US$4.5bn on research and development into 13 new electric models out to 2020. Volkswagen is targeting 2-3 million sales by 2025. Volvo expects 10% of its sales to be electric by 2020. Meanwhile Mercedes expects up to 25% of its sales to be electric by 2025. Notice a pattern: the traditional builders of cars are becoming builders of EVs. This is not just about Tesla. Even the vacuum manufacturer, Dyson, has committed US$2.6bn to development of an EV. While they don’t get as much media attention as others, LG Chem is one of the largest suppliers of EV batteries in the world.
LG Chem has an established client base and diversified revenue streams – injecting cash back into its battery business
LG Chem offers a unique investment opportunity into this market. Not only do they have a wide set of existing battery customers and the most widely accepted battery technology (NMC), they also have resilient cashflows from their base business in plastics, polymers and chemicals. This business fabricates a complex and eclectic suite of products used in everything from golf balls to solar cells, diapers, adhesives, shoe soles, mobile phones and Duplo. These consumer-oriented markets provide a resilient source of cashflow, allowing LG Chem to invest into growing its battery business.
LG Chem has performed strongly over the past twelve months, with the stock up 60%. as at 9th October 2017. The team continues to look for opportunities to prudently invest in the battery supply chain and the broader energy transition. The Global Resources Fund currently holds LG Chem in the portfolio.
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Colonial First State Global Asset Management invests approximately $200 billion across equities, fixed interest and credit, cash, listed and unlisted property and infrastructure.