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BMW and Ford Invest in Solid Power to Secure All Solid-State Batteries for Future Electric Vehicles

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 Solid Power, an industry-leading producer of all solid-state batteries for electric vehicles, yesterday announced a $130 million Series B investment round led by the BMW Group, Ford Motor Company and Volta Energy Technologies.

Ford and the BMW Group have also expanded existing joint development agreements with Solid Power to secure all solid-state batteries for future electric vehicles.

The investment positions Solid Power to produce full-scale automotive batteries, increase associated material output and expand in-house production capabilities for future vehicle integration. The BMW Group and Ford aim to utilize Solid Power’s low-cost, high-energy all solid-state battery technology in forthcoming electric vehicles.

“BMW and Ford now share leading positions in the race for all solid-state battery-powered electric vehicles,” said Doug Campbell, CEO and co-founder of Solid Power. “Solid Power now plans to begin producing automotive-scale batteries on the company’s pilot production line in early 2022 as a result of our partners’ continued commitment to Solid Power’s commercialization efforts.”

Solid Power has demonstrated its ability to produce and scale next-generation all solid-state batteries that are designed to power longer range, lower cost and safer electric vehicles using existing lithium-ion battery manufacturing infrastructure.

Solid Power’s leadership in all solid-state battery development and manufacturing has been confirmed with the delivery of hundreds of production line-produced battery cells that were validated by Ford and the BMW Group late last year, formalizing Solid Power’s commercialization plans with its two long-standing automotive partners.

“Solid-state battery technology is important to the future of electric vehicles, and that’s why we’re investing directly,” said Ted Miller, Ford’s manager of Electrification Subsystems and Power Supply Research. “By simplifying the design of solid-state versus lithium-ion batteries, we’ll be able to increase vehicle range, improve interior space and cargo volume, deliver lower costs and better value for customers and more efficiently integrate this kind of solid-state battery cell technology into existing lithium-ion cell production processes.”

“Being a leader in advanced battery technology is of the utmost importance for BMW. The development of all solid-state batteries is one of the most promising and important steps towards more efficient, sustainable, and safer electric vehicles. We now have taken our next step on this path with Solid Power,” said Frank Weber, Member of the Board of Management BMW AG, Development. “Together we have developed a 20 Ah all solid-state cell that is absolutely outstanding in this field. Over the past 10 years, BMW has continuously increased the battery cell competence– important partners like Solid Power share our vision of zero-emission mobility.”

Solid Power is currently producing 20-ampere hour (Ah) multi-layer all solid-state batteries on the company’s continuous roll-to-roll production line, which exclusively utilizes industry standard lithium-ion production processes and equipment.

Both Ford and the BMW Group will receive full-scale 100 Ah cells for automotive qualification testing and vehicle integration beginning in 2022. Solid Power’s all solid-state platform technology allows for the production of unique cell designs expected to meet performance requirements for each automotive partner. Solid Power’s truly all-solid cell designs achieve higher energy densities, are safer and are expected to cost less than today’s best-performing lithium-ion battery cells.

“Volta invested early in Solid Power when our team of energy and commercialization experts found they had not only promising technology, but also a fundamental focus on manufacturability. After all, a breakthrough battery will not find a place in the market if it can’t be produced at scale with acceptable costs,” said Dr. Jeff Chamberlain, CEO of Volta Energy Technologies, a venture capital firm spun out of the U.S. Department of Energy’s Argonne National Laboratory focused on investing in breakthrough energy storage and battery innovations.

“The fact that Solid Power is already producing multi-layer all solid-state batteries using industry-standard automated commercial manufacturing equipment is why Volta is excited to ramp up its earlier investment. The company’s partnership with BMW and Ford will further accelerate the full commercialization of Solid Power’s batteries and position both car companies to be among the first to have EVs on the road powered by safer, affordable, high-energy solid-state batteries.” He added.

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Nigerian VIPs Pour Nearly N1.49 Trillion into Dubai Property Market

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General Images Of Residential Property

It has been uncovered that Nigerian politicians, security officials, and their families have collectively invested close to N1.49 trillion in the Dubai property market over the past two decades.

This massive investment spree spans 1,600 properties located in some of Dubai’s most exclusive and sought-after neighborhoods.

The investigation, named ‘Dubai Unlocked,’ conducted over six months by the Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project (OCCRP) in collaboration with Economy Post and other international media partners, has shed light on the extent of Nigerian elites’ financial footprint in the UAE’s commercial capital.

The investigation outlined the property holdings of these individuals, revealing an estimated total value approaching $1 billion.

As of 2020, Nigerian politically exposed persons (PEPs) and their associates owned around 800 properties valued at $400 million.

However, recent findings indicate a significant surge, with the number of properties doubling and their collective value nearing the N1.49 trillion mark.

The vast majority of these properties, amounting to 88%, are reportedly owned by individuals with ties to Nigeria’s government and security apparatus.

Prominent figures implicated in this expansive real estate portfolio include former Vice President Atiku Abubakar, whose family owns multiple high-end apartments and villas across prestigious locations such as Palm Jumeirah and Burj Khalifa.

Similarly, other former governors, senators, and high-ranking civil servants have been linked to luxury residences in Dubai, raising questions about the source of funds used for these acquisitions.

Critics argue that while there may be legitimate reasons for acquiring property abroad, such vast investments raise concerns about capital flight and the origins of the funds involved.

Emmanuel Okeke, a legal expert, highlighted the distinction between lawful investments and potential financial misconduct, emphasizing the need for transparency and accountability in wealth acquisition by public officials.

The Dubai property market, renowned for its growth and stability, continues to attract global investors, with residential property prices rising by over 20% in the first quarter of 2024 alone.

Despite international scrutiny and calls for regulatory reforms to curb illicit financial flows, Dubai remains a favored destination for wealthy individuals seeking to diversify their assets.

Authorities in Nigeria and international organizations such as C4ADS have underscored the importance of ensuring that investments in foreign real estate are conducted ethically and in compliance with anti-money laundering regulations.

The spotlight on Nigerian VIPs’ extensive property holdings in Dubai serves as a stark reminder of the challenges posed by globalized financial activities and the imperative to safeguard against corruption and illicit wealth accumulation.

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Investors Scramble as Nvidia’s Sales Defy Projections in AI Surge

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Nvidia Corp., the renowned chipmaker, defies sales projections driven by an unprecedented boom in artificial intelligence (AI).

This surge has propelled Nvidia to become the most expensive stock in the S&P 500 Index, with shares trading at roughly 23 times the company’s projected sales over the next 12 months.

For more than a year, Nvidia has experienced a meteoric rise in demand for its chips, fueled by the frenzy surrounding AI advancements.

This demand has rendered traditional financial estimates obsolete, leaving even Nvidia’s executives struggling to accurately predict the company’s future revenue.

Since the chipmaker’s sales began skyrocketing in the fiscal quarter ending April 2023, revenue has consistently exceeded company forecasts by an average of 13%, a figure more than double the average over the past decade.

The most notable instance occurred in August, when Nvidia’s sales surpassed its projections by an astounding 23%, marking the biggest beat since at least 2013.

A representative for Nvidia declined to comment on the company’s revenue projections and the challenges in forecasting amidst the AI boom.

The challenge of modeling Nvidia’s future earnings lies largely in the unpredictability of supply amid surging demand.

Brian Colello, an analyst at Morningstar, highlighted this issue, noting that Nvidia’s situation is unique.

“Assuming steady improvement in Nvidia’s ability to increase supply, I add up to $4 billion to Nvidia’s quarterly revenue to ballpark the upcoming quarter’s sales,” Colello explained.

He recently raised his price target for Nvidia shares to $105 from $91, though they are currently trading around $127.

Colello is not alone in his optimistic adjustments. Ben Reitzes, an analyst at Melius, has raised his price target on Nvidia five times this year, most recently to $160, implying a 26% gain from recent closing prices.

The market’s enthusiasm is evident as Nvidia’s stock has surged 156% this year, briefly overtaking Microsoft Corp. to become the world’s most valuable company at $3.34 trillion.

This rally has contributed to a record $8.7 billion inflow into tech funds last week, according to Bank of America Corp.’s analysis of EPFR Global data.

However, Nvidia shares have since fallen 6.7%, erasing over $200 billion in market value.

For investors relying on discounted cash flow models, the gap between estimates and actual results has created a conundrum.

In the past five quarters, analyst estimates for Nvidia’s sales have deviated from actual results by an average of 12%, the third-highest among S&P 500 companies with average quarterly revenues exceeding $5 billion.

Despite the challenges in forecasting, Nvidia’s growth remains impressive. The company is projected to deliver a profit of $14.7 billion on sales of $28.4 billion in the current quarter, reflecting increases of 137% and 111%, respectively, from the same period a year ago.

Comparatively, Microsoft’s sales are expected to rise 15%, with Apple’s projections sitting around 3%.

While Nvidia’s valuation multiples are high, they appear more reasonable considering the company’s growth trajectory.

However, Michael O’Rourke, chief market strategist at Jonestrading, cautions that the extent of Nvidia’s outperformance may diminish due to its sheer size, potentially making it harder to justify the current stock price.

“That’s where the risk comes in,” O’Rourke said. “You’re paying a high price for a large market cap company where the beats have been trending lower, and that’s likely to continue.”

As Nvidia continues to navigate the unpredictable waters of the AI surge, investors and analysts alike are left grappling with the challenge of accurately predicting the company’s future in an era of unprecedented technological advancement.

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NNPC and TotalEnergies to Invest $550 Million in Rivers State Gas Facility

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Totalenergies

The Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) Ltd and TotalEnergies have announced a joint investment of $550 million in a new gas processing facility in Rivers State.

The project aims to enhance gas exports and boost domestic supplies, a source within NNPC revealed on Wednesday.

The planned investment encompasses the construction of a state-of-the-art gas processing plant and an extensive pipeline network.

The facility will be situated on the Ubeta onshore gas field, which is co-owned by TotalEnergies and NNPC.

The gas processed at this facility will be supplied to the Nigeria Liquefied Natural Gas (NLNG) plant, a consortium involving NNPC, Shell, TotalEnergies, and Italy’s Eni.

Upon completion, the Ubeta gas processing plant is expected to produce 350 million standard cubic feet of gas per day, alongside 10,000 barrels of associated liquids daily.

This development comes as Nigeria seeks to capitalize on its vast natural gas reserves, estimated at over 200 trillion cubic feet, which remain largely untapped due to inadequate processing infrastructure and capital limitations.

An official announcement regarding the investment is anticipated later this week. Although TotalEnergies has declined to comment, sources close to the agreement confirm that the project reflects a renewed effort by President Bola Tinubu’s administration to attract substantial investment into Nigeria’s energy sector.

“This investment is a clear indication of confidence in Nigeria’s resource potential and the government’s commitment to improving the ease of doing business,” commented Clementine Wallop, Director for Sub-Saharan Africa at political risk consultancy Horizon Engage.

The initiative also aligns with Nigeria’s strategic goals to increase its gas exports, especially to the European Union, which has been seeking alternative energy sources in the wake of reduced imports from Russia due to the ongoing conflict in Ukraine.

Domestically, the project is expected to alleviate some of the supply issues faced by Nigeria’s gas power plants, which are crucial for the country’s electricity generation.

Energy analysts highlight that this project could signify a turning point for Nigeria’s energy landscape, offering a much-needed boost to the country’s economic stability and energy security.

As Nigeria continues to grapple with the challenges of gas flaring and underutilization of its natural gas reserves, the NNPC and TotalEnergies’ investment in the Rivers State gas facility represents a strategic step forward in addressing these longstanding issues.

The successful implementation of this project could pave the way for further investments and advancements in Nigeria’s energy sector.

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