Since the first day that I first mentioned Nano One Materials, way back when Equity.Guru began, Nano One Materials (NNO.V) has always been lining itself up for the day, sometime in the distant future, when a big global player would come in and verify that, yes, they have something here, and it’s something important.
We’ve said it, but we’re biased.
They company has said it, but they’re biased.
Today, Saint Gobain, one of the largest multinationals in Europe, which started back in 1665 as a mirror manufacturer but now dominates the construction world and is investing heavily in enviro-tech, put its name and logo to a Nano One Materials news release announcing the firms will begin working together.
Vancouver, Canada (TSX-V: NNO) (OTC-Nasdaq Intl Designation: NNOMF) (Frankfurt: LBMB): Nano One CEO, Mr. Dan Blondal, is pleased to announce that the company has entered into a Joint Development Agreement with Saint-Gobain. The goal of the collaboration is to enhance high temperature processing of Nano One’s lithium ion battery materials.
Saint-Gobain is a multi-billion Euro French multinational corporation, founded in 1665, and produces a wide variety of construction and high-performance materials for applications in automotive, aerospace, health, and energy. This agreement formalizes innovative efforts that began earlier this year and commercial terms remain confidential.
If you’ve been watching Nano One from the sidelines, this is big news. While they’ve always hit their milestones, been early and under budget, with non-dilutive government funding, and while their science has always proved out – the big question has always been, “When will a Tesla or a Samsung or a 3M come in and make an honest woman out of this company?”
It’s taken a while.
Consider this deal Nano One’s cotillion. There’s no ring on her finger yet, but she looks amazing on the dancefloor and she’s ready to own it.
So who, or what, is a Saint Gobain (SGO.ENXT)?
StGo has US $40 billion in total assets. It’s focus is on construction, construction materials, plastics, abrasives, environmentally-friendly innovation, military, and infrastructure, and – right in the back there, rarely being discussed – it makes lithium ion battery components.
Saint-Gobain also has a division that focuses on connecting entrepreneurs, startups, and innovators to the 50+ bin Saint-Gobain called: NOVA External Venturing. The External Venturing unit has staff in Boston, Paris, and Shanghai, interested in connecting with entrepreneurs working in advanced materials, construction products, and environmental sustainability.
It’s literally everywhere.
“Saint-Gobain has a rich history in innovation and collaboration,” explained Ben Bassat, Nano One’s vice-president of business development, “and we are delighted to be working with a global leader in materials and sustainable solutions. Their materials are complementary to our processing technology and this agreement adds to our current efforts with other strategic interests in the lithium-ion battery supply chain.”
Why partner with NNO? And why would NNO partner with Saint Gobain?
One of the ongoing questions for Nano for a long time has been, will they license their tech to a big player, or sell it to a big player, or try to do it all themselves? That is, will they try to manufacture their own batteries and battery components, or will they be a part of bigger players doing so with their tech aboard for a royalty from every sale?
If Saint Gobain believes in NNO’s technology, which makes rechargeable batteries cheaper, charge faster, degrade slower, and hold a charge longer, and they have designs on becoming a battery supplier proper, or on-selling NNO tech through their mammoth global sales network, this sort of deal would be a company maker for Nano One.
Of course, there’s no ‘this sort of deal’ to point at right now, because the terms of the deal are commercial in confidence.
This agreement formalizes innovative efforts that began earlier this year and commercial terms remain confidential.
But there were hints as to how this will roll.
Nano One’s lithium ion powders are made using a patented process that blends lithium and other metals such as manganese, nickel, cobalt, aluminum and iron, prior to high temperature processing in a furnace. The two companies will work in collaboration, under the joint development agreement, to enhance the performance of their respective materials.
Saint-Gobain will also be joining Nano One’s demonstration pilot project, as a consortium member with the support of the Government of Canada through Sustainable Development Technology Canada.
We’ve seen companies trying to ride off larger players’ coattails before, such as when Saint Jean Carbon (SJL.V) pretended they had a deal with Mitsubishi, and it turned out (just as we said it would) that the company had no deal at all and had, instead, sent the company a bag of rocks they’d bought off someone else for ‘testing.’
Not exactly an off-take agreement.
But the difference here is important; Nano One aren’t just naming a big company as a potential partner. They’re quoting officials from that company in their news release. They’re using that company’s logo. That, and Nano has been frustratingly reticent to name potential partners before, preferring to be quiet and watch the stock drop rather than hype something before it’s time.
This company has always had an eye on the long game, and today is evidence that plan was for reals.
Mr. Natesh Krishnan, Worldwide Commercial Director, said “Innovation for a sustainable future is at the core of both companies and our combined know-how has the potential to put us at the forefront of transformative energy storage solutions. We look forward to working in close collaboration with Nano One.”
It’s been a long, frustrating year for Nano One longholders, myself included, who watched German money leave the stock while an absence of news made it difficult to come back strong.
But, again, today feels different. There’s a big deal here, and with the company stock price around half what it was less than a year ago, there’s some genuine value afoot.
I’m likely to add to my holding if it doesn’t rocket too quickly.
— Chris Parry
FULL DISCLOSURE: Nano One Materials has been am Equity.Guru marketing client since Equity.Guru was a thing, and the author owns stock in the company.