Zug/Switzerland – 30 April 2020 – iQ International AG (ISIN CH0451424300 / WKN A2PAA5 / Symbol IQL), a multinational Sustainable Technologies company publicly traded on the Regulated Market of the Frankfurt Stock Exchange with its global head office in Zug, Switzerland and North American headquarters in Scottsdale, Arizona, provides a macro view of the impact of COVID-19 on the company and the lead-acid (SLI) battery industry generally.
Dear shareholders and partners,
We are in a rapidly evolving global environment that is unprecedented in our lifetimes. As much as we have wanted to communicate more prominently through this COVID-19 period we have hesitated to do so earlier because of the barrage of information and constantly changing nature of it. We were also previously limited due to the legally required quiet period during our successful up listing to the Frankfurt Regulated Exchange.
During the past few months of the pandemic, our primary focus has been the health, safety and well-being of our employees and their families as well as the security and sustainability of the Company.
We would like to start by recognizing the efficient reaction and support of the world’s governments to give companies and small business a chance to make it through this pandemic with viable operations on the back side. Last week, iQ was fortunate to receive payroll support for our US employees from the US Department of the Treasury, funds from a COVID-19 loan program in Switzerland, and the Italian government, through the CIGO COVID-19 program, is currently paying the salaries of the work force at our Italian factory until May 30, 2020. Management has been working exhaustively to pursue every avenue to ensure iQ’s future, and we will continue to do so, including monitoring extensions of existing support programs and the introduction of new measures.
As is the case with many others, the COVID-19 pandemic is negatively impacting our Company and industry. In late March 2020, we were directed to close SIA, our majority owned battery manufacturing company in Italy. SIA has positively used the time that it has been shut down to complete the annual maintenance at the factory, and since lead-acid batteries are now included in the essential industry list, the factory is ready to manufacture batteries. The Company is currently assessing the best path to restart the facility.
Throughout most of 2019, the Company worked to up list its securities to the Regulated Market of the Frankfurt Stock Exchange as part of the planning and process to complete a substantial equity raise in the first part of 2020. Although the Company was successful in this undertaking, having been listed on December 23, 2019, its plans for a European roadshow were abruptly stalled caused by the COVID-19 pandemic restrictions.
The Company believes this will be a temporary delay and has remained focused on and committed to the Company’s funding strategies. Management continues to work on funding opportunities, has taken necessary steps to pivot accordingly, and believes it presently has positive possibilities for institutional debt and equity even during these difficult economic times. We expect to report on these opportunities soon.
Despite these chaotic and turbulent times, we have been cautious not to overreact and to maintain objective perspective through this period. In the face of this adversity, the Company see’s opportunity and a positive outlook.
The lead-acid battery industry aftermarket is counter-cyclical, and the Company’s operations and opportunities are heavily weighted in the aftermarket. As shown in the graph below, our industry has stayed resilient and enjoyed steady growth through recessions and extended periods of downturn. Unlike some industries where canceled events or closed venues means lost revenue, profit and opportunity, the lead-acid aftermarket sales will be delayed due to COVID-19, but not lost as the replacement need is inevitable. An automobile battery’s average life of 3-4 years translates into a linear, predictable replacement demand from the existing and growing vehicle population.
iQ is a technology leader in the sector with durable competitive advantage due to the Company’s strong IP portfolio. We will stay resilient in acting on the various opportunities in front of iQ to bring them to fruition.
Management realizes that there has been a delay in shareholder communications. During the up listing from the Berlin to the Frankfurt Regulated Exchange, our communications program was highly sensitive, and we closely followed the advice of the Company’s professional advisors.
Following our successful up listing, and under the present circumstances, management can now be more communicative and suitably share relevant information with our shareholders on an ongoing basis. In this regard, further press releases are planned for the month of May which will address matters such as the basics of company valuation, international product distribution advances, possible acquisitions and joint ventures and finally, debt and equity funding prospects.
“iQ International and management would like to take this time to publicly acknowledge and thank the company’s employees all over the world, specifically our employees at the SIA factory in Italy who have been hit the hardest during this pandemic,” said Kevin T. Loman, CEO of iQ International. “We have hurdles like many companies, but we are optimistic about the lead-acid battery sector. The extended bull market during the last decade led to strong new vehicle sales, this augurs well for demand in the replacement market, which is driven by factors such as number of vehicles in use, average age of vehicles and average battery life. Europe has seen unusually warm winters recently, which has extended the replacement cycle for batteries. This means that batteries in the car park, which has been sitting idle during the COVID-19 period, are already weaker than usual and overdue for replacement.”
iQ International AG
iQ International AG is a multinational sustainable technologies company listed on the Regulated Market of the Frankfurt Stock Exchange. The Company licenses parts of its IP portfolio, and manufactures/distributes highly efficient lead acid batteries that meet the increased need for cycle life in today’s global automotive and storage markets. Its award-winning innovative technology is used to create superior, long-lasting, OEM-approved Starting-Lighting-Ignition (SLI) batteries. Batteries with iQ International AG technologies are designed to generate better performance in today’s highly electrified vehicles, particularly vehicles with Start-Stop applications. The Company’s technologies have the potential to reduce the carbon footprint of the transportation industry, helping car makers meet the emissions reduction mandates. – For more information, visit www.iqint.com