Following a $34 million raise via an oversubscribed initial public offering (IPO), a lithium-suplhur battery technology company backed by PPK Group (ASX: PPK) and Deakin University has debuted on the ASX today with a share price surge on opening.
Li-S Energy (ASX: LIS) debuts with a market capitalisation of $544 million, illustrating the growing value of alternative and high-tech battery technologies that are poised to power our clean energy future.
The Brisbane-headquartered company is the result of a joint venture between the company’s founding shareholders - PPK Group (the major shareholder with nearly 50 per cent of securities), BNNT Technology Limited (which holds 13.2 per cent) and Deakin University (4.69 per cent), all three of which are contributing to the development of batteries made to power electric vehicles, smartphones, drones and more.
In early trading the company appears to have caused shockwaves on the ASX, hitting an early high of $3.05 per share and at the time of writing is trading at $2.28 - significantly above the company’s $0.85 per share offer price.
With $53 million in cash and the backing of new investors including Regal Funds Management (ASX: RF1), Ellerston Capital, Wunula Capital, EGP Capital and Fifth Estate, the company says it is well-positioned to disrupt the battery space which is currently dominated by lithium-ion batteries.
Through the introduction of a nanomaterial called Boron Nitride Nanotubes (BNNT) into the battery chemistry, Li-S has been able to create lithium-sulphur batteries that retain a much stronger, longer-lasting energy capacity than lithium-ion while avoiding the significant degradation which has made lithium-sulphur batteries unviable until now.
This could mean mobile phones with a one-week battery, electric cars with a 1,000-kilometre range and drones that fly for hours between charges.
BNNT was discovered about 20 years ago by Nobel Prize-winning scientist Dr Richard Smalley who called it “the strongest fibre that you can make out of anything, ever”. It is 100 times stronger than steel, 300 times more bulletproof than Kevlar, heat resistant up to 3,000 degrees and harder than diamonds.
The technology had, until recently, been incredibly expensive to produce, selling for close to $1 million dollars a kilogram, but Deakin solved this problem by finding a way to create the fibres at 1,350 degrees.
Li-S CEO Dr Lee Finniear said the success of the IPO was a testament to the market’s enthusiasm for the breakthrough battery product.
“Ours is a genuine Australian technology success story with global application and the realistic potential to allow EVs to drive further, drones to fly longer and mobile devices to last for days instead of hours,” Finniear said.
“We are in an enviable financial position to pursue commercialisation of our technology into a global market looking for alternatives to lithium-ion batteries - a mature technology that is essentially ‘maxed out’ in terms of opportunities to materially improve its operating performance.”
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