European Automakers Begin to Adopt Maxwell’s Ultracapacitor Technology

3/15/11Follow @bvbigelow

The conference rooms are filled close to capacity today at the Roth Capital Partners’ annual conference for small-cap companies in Dana Point, which the Newport Beach, CA-based investment banking firm is calling its biggest conference in 23 years.

“The Japanese situation has tempered a bit of the enthusiasm today,” said Ted Roth, Roth Capital’s president, referring to the crises at Japan’s Fukushima  nuclear power plant following the 9.0-magnitude earthquake and tsunami. “A lot of the companies are telling me that the first question they’re getting in their one-on-one interviews is whether they have been getting any of their components from Japan.”

Executives from more than 430 public companies, including more than 100 from China, are making presentations to an estimated 2,500 investors and analysts at the three-day conference, which continues through tomorrow.

In a presentation this morning, Maxwell Technologies (NASDAQ: MXWL) CEO David Schramm said the San Diego company is seeing “significant growth” in sales of its ultracapacitor energy storage devices, which discharge a nearly instantaneous spike of electrical power. Schramm says ultracapacitor sales increased 56 percent, to $68.5 million in 2010 compared to sales of $43.8 million in 2009.

Ultracapacitors also constitute more than half (56 percent) of Maxwell’s total revenue, which amounted to $121.9 million in 2010. The company also makes conventional high-voltage capacitors, which accounted for 29 percent of Maxwell’s revenue, as well as specialized microelectronics used aboard satellites and other spacecraft, which made up 15 percent.

It has taken more than a decade for Maxwell to … Next Page »

Bruce V. Bigelow is the editor of Xconomy San Diego. You can e-mail him at bbigelow@xconomy.com or call (619) 669-8788 Follow @bvbigelow

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