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‘Breakthrough year’ for battery storage at European smart energy solutions provider Alfen

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Alfen, a Netherlands-based provider of electric vehicle (EV) charging, smart grid and energy storage solutions has reported a 526% increase in half-year revenues for its storage segment.

The Euronext Amsterdam exchange-listed company announced its interim consolidated financial statements for the first half of 2023 (H1 2023) this morning.

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Although its EV segment business has been hit by “challenging market conditions,” for energy storage systems (ESS), the signs are that 2023 is a “breakthrough year” for Alfen, CEO Marco Roeleveld said. Its Smart Grid Systems segment, which provides key electrical infrastructure equipment such as transformers, is also enjoying a “step change” in growth, according to the CEO.

Alfen netted total revenues of €223.9 million (US$243.07 million) for H1 2023, which was a 9% increase year-on-year from H1 2022. While EV charging revenues declined 36%, and Smart Grid revenues rose by 20%, energy storage revenues leapt by over 500%, from €9.4 million in H1 2022, to €58.8 million in the first half of this year.

Its energy storage system segment has a backlog of orders worth more than €170 million, with the company claiming more than half of those orders will be fulfilled during the second half of 2023.

The company has been gearing up to capitalise on battery storage market success. It noted that a not-inconsiderable 48% drop in its adjusted EBITDA margin, from 18.1% of €37.3 million revenue in H1 2022 to 9.4% of revenues totalling €21.1 million was largely attributable to a revenue mix shift from EV charging to ESS, which has lower gross margins.

Gross margin across the business lines decreased for this reason also, from 35.3% in the first half of 2022 to 30.5% in the more recent period. Gross margin for the energy storage segment was 19%, in the lower end of guidance previously offered by the company of 15% to 30%.

Energy-Storage.news has reported on several of the ongoing or recently contracted ESS projects Alfen identified as half-year highlights, such as a 30MW/68MWh project in the Netherlands – thought to be the country’s largest battery energy storage system (BESS) project to date – with developer SemperPower.

Others include a large-scale BESS at a wind farm in Finland (30MW output, capacity not yet disclosed), Centrica’s first BESS project in Belgium (24MW/54MWh), and a number of projects in Sweden including four totalling 70MW with distribution network operator (DNO) Ellevio Group.

For those projects, Alfen is deploying its containerised BESS solution, TheBattery Elements, but the company also recently launched a new iteration of its mobile battery storage product called TheBatteryMobile, putting 720kWh of storage capacity into a 10ft container on wheels.

Company can ‘outperform’ European market on ESS, CEO claims

Alfen, which operates under an ‘asset-light’ business model, said it is maintaining higher stock levels of equipment relative to its battery storage segment in anticipation of growing demand and to fulfil its backlog in H2 2023. Key equipment it is putting down payments on include inverters, batteries and containers for both TheBattery Elements and TheBattery Mobile.

Based on challenges in the EV market and destocking in its EV charging sales channels, earlier this month Alfen lowered its revenue guidance for the year, from a previously guided €540 – €600 million to €490 – €520 million.

However, the company expects “sequential increases in revenues” for its EV segment from the fourth quarter of this year, Marco Roeleveld said, adding that “Alfen’s financial position continues to be strong and healthy at a time when other players in the EV Charging market are declaring insolvency or forced to raise capital”.

The CEO attributed this to the company’s diversified approach, with energy storage the standout performer.

“2023 is really the breakthrough year for energy storage for Alfen,” Roeleveld said.

“With our stationary and mobile battery solutions, we are well positioned for continued strong growth, underpinning our confidence that we can outperform the European market in 2023.”

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