AMSC – One Company One Story

Welcome to another story and another video in my One Company One Story series.
This time, AMSC (previously known as American Superconductor).

Here comes the amateur legalese.

I began investing in companies and their stocks in the late 70s, but am not a certified investment professional.

My style and history of investing is described in Dream. Invest. Live., a book I wrote by request – which came out as the Great Recession (the Second Great Depression) began. Bad timing, eh?

I am not investment professional. This is not financial advice. 

This time it is about AMSC, a company that was previously known as American Superconductor – back when it had an name that gave the company an identity. Back then, their goal was to do for electrical power what fiber optics did for telecommunications – deliver a lot in a little package. Now, they are broader, trying to deliver grid efficiency. According to their web site they see their task as;

We don’t generate the energy. We keep it moving.

From my blog post when I sold AMSC to buy a different investment, LCTX.

American Superconductor had, and may have, great promise. Decades ago they found a way to manufacture relatively high-temperature superconducting cables in commercial quantities. The world’s electrical grid is old, inefficient, and due for some massive upgrades. We can’t afford to waste energy. Superconducting cables would decrease the losses in transmitting electricity. The bonus was that the cables could also make better motors, utility-scale voltage regulators, possibly tie the US grids together, and help renewable energies like solar and wind farms. Great!

Their superconducting cables are complex (requiring refrigeration) and exotic (requiring some very uncommon materials like yttrium (at least back then), but imagine trying to retrofit a city to upgrade to today’s electrical demands. More power down an old pipe instead of digging up yet another street? Sweet. Cables aren’t just cables. Superconductivity also allows for better voltage regulation, more efficient transmission of power, and more efficient motors. Electrical motors are becoming more common. Plenty of opportunity.

Look at their web site and also see applications like reducing the losses from distributed renewable energy systems like wind mills. More efficiency and enabling renewable energy. Very nice.

Along the way they actually bought into the design side of renewable energy by helping with such things as wind turbine design.

They were also involved in a project to connect America’s three main power grids, something that could’ve helped Texas a while back?

So what happened? The company became the target of a scandal. A customer ‘acquired’ enough information about at least one aspect of the company to become a competitor instead of a customer. AMSC won their case, but lost a big revenue stream. 

The investment community is run by humans, so sentiment matters and the stock suffered.  I’ll leave it to others to comment on whether that affected their cash position and their ability to advance their business and technology. Hopefully that is all behind them, now.

Google Finance

Going back to my blog post from 2020 (https://trimbathcreative.net/2020/08/07/amsc-out-lctx-in/),

AMSC has taken so long to develop that I believe competing technologies like graphene and other superconducting materials may have caught up enough to out-compete AMSC.

Disclosure: I owned AMSC from 2003 to 2020. https://trimbathcreative.net/?s=amsc

Their basic goal remains admirable, improving electrical transmission and systems. We need to upgrade old systems. It seems like a good industry to be in, but will they help and benefit from their efforts?

The video

About Tom Trimbath

real estate broker / consultant / entrepreneur / writer / photographer / speaker / aerospace engineer / semi-semi-retired More info at: https://trimbathcreative.net/about/ and at my amazon author page: http://www.amazon.com/-/e/B0035XVXAA
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