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Maxwell Technologies: Entering The Next Phase

Larry Saunders profile picture
Larry Saunders


  • Maxwell Technologies has been pointing to 2018 as a critical year in terms of starting to transition into the automotive sector more, but they are not alone in the quest.
  • With the convertible debt raised in 2017, 2018 and 2019 will see more investment in expansion.
  • Improving returns for shareholders will become less about the promise and feasibility of the technology in the future and more based on execution in the present.

The ultracapacitor maker Maxwell Technologies (NASDAQ:MXWL) reported on 2017 results last month, and after digesting some of what was mentioned on the earnings call and taking a look at trends, an updated view is warranted, although I will plan to wait until later in the year to address valuation specifically. Ironically, as it turns out, I'm not the only one who thinks now a good time to check in on the name, for just as I was putting the finishing touches on this article, fellow Seeking Alpha contributor Stephen Simpson has also published his updated view, which I would recommend to anyone interested in Maxwell. For the uninitiated, an ultracapacitor is an energy storage solution that can supply relatively high amounts of power that is both dispersed and recharged fairly quickly, but thus far has not been developed to be able to store and supply energy as batteries do, in which the power is dispersed more slowly. A reasonable explanation of the basic idea of the technology can be found from this YouTube video.

Maxwell has been proclaiming the promise of this technology for years as a key component of solving energy storage problems, especially as alternative energy sources (such as wind) are coming online at a faster rate and transportation is becoming more heavily electrified. For all the years of promises, shareholders have had relatively little to show for it; those who took the buy-and-hold approach five years ago would have seen big gains in 2014 that were short-lived; otherwise it has been a pretty range-bound investment for the last two years, in the midst of a massive bull market generally, and certainly not keeping pace with its quasi-peers in battery technology.

ChartMXWL data by YCharts

Plenty of reasons explain why - over-dependence on both a single geographic market (China) and a single

This article was written by

Larry Saunders profile picture
My professional background is in church work, but I left that vocation in 2012. In 2015, I earned an MBA from the Aix-Marseille University, located in in Aix-en-Provence in southern France. I currently live and work in the midwest with my spouse, children, and a cat who seems to like me more than she likes anyone else in our house.

Analyst’s Disclosure: I am/we are long MXWL. I wrote this article myself, and it expresses my own opinions. I am not receiving compensation for it (other than from Seeking Alpha). I have no business relationship with any company whose stock is mentioned in this article.

I have no financial stake in any of the companies listed as Maxwell's competitors, however I did work on a student consulting project (unpaid) for the French company NaWa Technologies in the spring of 2015 as a requirement of my MBA degree from the Aix - Marseille University.

Seeking Alpha's Disclosure: Past performance is no guarantee of future results. No recommendation or advice is being given as to whether any investment is suitable for a particular investor. Any views or opinions expressed above may not reflect those of Seeking Alpha as a whole. Seeking Alpha is not a licensed securities dealer, broker or US investment adviser or investment bank. Our analysts are third party authors that include both professional investors and individual investors who may not be licensed or certified by any institute or regulatory body.

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