Message Font: Serif | Sans-Serif
 
No. of Recommendations: 13
For the most part, these message boards are just the blind leading the blind.

Some people agree with you, but I think that those who share their expertise in the field and those who take the time to dig up the facts, not just relay the hype dished out as PR, perform a valuable service. I know I am indebted to several posters on this board for helping me to understand specific technicalities as they apply to American Superconductor.

You said, "Finally, IMGC has a cable manufacturing partner in Southwire. The company has annual sales of $1.3 billion. Three of Southwire's plants have been receiving power transmitted by HTS cable for more than a year.

It would help to put this announcement into perspective by quoting the only real information that is relevant to HTS cable production, this also from the Southwire article you referred to (http://www.southwire.com/news/011100-1.htm): Southwire anticipates a commercial HTS cable could reach the market by the year 2005. Notice that this doesn't even mention 2nd generation HTS wire.

As reported in the Fiscal 2002 First Quarter Results, American Superconductor will be in "high yield production" in the Devens plant in the second half of 2002, "expecting demand for its HTS wires, primarily for commercial power cables, motors and generators, to ramp significantly over the next several years."

Answering a question from Robert Smith of the Center for Performance Investing regarding where AMS cables will be installed next, CEO Greg Yurek said that the next cable beta site, expected to be under contract by the end of the fiscal year, will be on the East Coast. He remarked that ASC cables have been proven to have higher performance than those of competitorswith HTS cables now running in Tokyo and Copenhagen. Additionally he explained that there had been no real mechanical stresses on the cables in either location. By contrast, the Detroit site is testing all aspects and eventualities, and the Paris and Milan sites, both using AMS wire, will be high voltage test facilities. (Notice that there is no mention of Southwire, whose only test site has been the company headquarters.)

We can expect more superconducting companies to enter the HTS cable market if current predictions for demand have any merit to them. But as Yurek reminded Smith when he assumed American Superconductor wouldn't even consider Japan and Denmark, where competitors already have cable installations, "Performance and price win the day in the open commercial market."

In the Conference Call presentation, Yurek said that American Superconductor's HTS cables are "no longer a laboratory curiosity but a viable, go to market product" and that we can expect a media event demo by December. He emphasized that AMS is in position to lead in this burgeoning area, having 2-3 years lead time on competitors.

Asked about progress with 2nd generation wire, Yurek said he expects it to reach production levels within the 2006 timeframe. The greatest challenge for AMS or any real competitor is to produce high volume with low cost manufacturing process.

Obtaining patents doesn't equal production. That's just a necessary first step to help you get your foot in the door and begin to work toward production. When Intermagnetics has actually produced HTS wire used for power cable, installed it and tested it in the field, then the company might be considered serious competition for American Superconductor in production of HTS cable.

Maybe IMGC intends to skip all those unnecessary intermediate steps and magically produce high performance 2nd generation wire with no degradation to be commercialized without field testing. To lessen the possibility of encouraging that blind cycle you described, it would help to consider the last paragraph of that Intemagnetics press release, required by law:

Safe Harbor Statement

The statements contained in this press release that are not historical fact are ``forward-looking statements' which involve various important assumptions, risks, uncertainties and other factors. These include, without limitation, the assumptions, risks, and uncertainties set forth here as well as in the company's Annual Report on Form 10-K, including but not limited to, the ability of the company and its partners to successfully commercialize and gain market acceptance of HTS products, the company's ability to license certain key technology for the manufacture of HTS tape/wire, the potential adverse impact on the company of emerging patents in this highly competitive field, and the company's ability to invest sufficient resources to bring HTS products to market.


Judy
Print the post  

Announcements

What was Your Dumbest Investment?
Share it with us -- and learn from others' stories of flubs.
When Life Gives You Lemons
We all have had hardships and made poor decisions. The important thing is how we respond and grow. Read the story of a Fool who started from nothing, and looks to gain everything.
Contact Us
Contact Customer Service and other Fool departments here.
Work for Fools?
Winner of the Washingtonian great places to work, and Glassdoor #1 Company to Work For 2015! Have access to all of TMF's online and email products for FREE, and be paid for your contributions to TMF! Click the link and start your Fool career.