CATL’s sodium breakthrough energizes shares

Shares the sodium-ion battery sector are on the up following CATL’s announced breakthrough in sodium-ion technology.

The headquarters of CATL in Fujian Province. Photo from CFP

The headquarters of CATL in Fujian Province. Photo from CFP

By CHEN Huidong


Shares in the sodium-ion battery sector (BK0988) have been on the rise since CATL announced a major technological breakthrough in sodium-ion technology, the sector growing by 13 percent in just a few days.

CATL’s own value hit one trillion yuan (US$160 billion) on May 31, making it the ninth largest company listed in China. The company’s main products include batteries, lithium materials and energy storage. Batteries account for nearly 80 percent of revenue. In the first quarter of this year, CATL made 19.1 million yuan, up 112 percent year on year. The net profit of its parent company was 2 billion yuan up 163 percent.

At the annual shareholder’s meeting on May 21, chairman Robin Zeng said sodium-ion technology had been “perfected.” Following his remark, shares shot up.

The time is ripe for CATL to pay attention to the sodium-ion battery. Lithium prices have gone off the scale recently and the search for alternatives is urgent. In terms of the cost of the sodium-ion battery is not cheap either, at least not yet, because of its small market and immature technology.

Lithium and copper used in the manufacture of lithium batteries are replaced by carbon and aluminum and other low-cost materials: “the performance of lithium batteries at the price of lead-acid.”

As for the performance, the sodium-ion battery has a lower natural energy density, leading to shorter service life. It’s particularly suitable for cost-sensitive, low-power applications like domestic energy storage and low-speed vehicles.