EV manufacturing jumps in UK, total manufacturing sinks to 65-year low

A Nissan Leaf on the forecourt of a dealership in Lincoln, UK

Chris Ratcliffe | Bloomberg | Getty Images

Car production in the UK slumped by 6.7% to just 859,575 units in 2021, new figures published by the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders show.

In a statement Thursday, the SMMT said the output represented the “worst total since 1956” and was 34% lower than 2019, the year before the Covid-19 pandemic struck.

While the headline figures for 2021 are disappointing — the SMMT pinpointed the semiconductor shortage as being the “principal cause of the decline” — the low and zero-emission segment of the sector provided some light amid the gloom.

The SMMT said that British factories manufactured a record amount of battery electric, hybrid electric and plug-in hybrid vehicles in 2021, with a total of 224,011 being made. This represents a 26.1% share of all cars produced last year.

“More positively, the shift to electrified vehicle manufacture continued apace as BEV production surged 72.0%,” the SMMT said, “while hybrids rose 16.4%, as the UK industry — like the market — transforms into a low and, ultimately, zero- carbon industry.”

Read more about electric vehicles from CNBC Pro

The UK wants to stop the sale of new diesel and gasoline cars and vans by 2030. It will require, from 2035, all new cars and vans to have zero tailpipe emissions. The task is huge and the sector is still dominated by vehicles running on fossil fuels.

Although the market has been significantly affected by the pandemic, customers’ habits could nevertheless be on the verge of a significant change.

A record 190,727 new battery electric cars were registered in the UK last year, according to the SMMT, with Tesla’s Model 3 the best-selling battery electric model. Indeed, the Model 3 was the second most popular new car overall behind the Vauxhall Corsa, the industry body says.

In a release earlier this month, the SMMT described 2021 as the “most successful year in history for electric vehicle uptake.” It said that more new battery electric vehicles had been registered in 2021 than over the five previous years combined.

AMC inventory extends rally, jumps 20% as theater chain sells new shares

Shares in AMC entertainment rose again on Tuesday after the theater chain sold more than 8 million shares to an investment firm, the latest in a series of capital increases for the troubled company that became Meme Stock.

AMC announced in a securities filing that it raised $ 230.5 million through a sale of shares to Mudrick Capital Management. The theater company announced that it will use the funds for potential acquisitions, upgrading its theaters and deleveraging its balance sheet.

At the close of trading, the shares were up 22.6%.

On Tuesday afternoon, Bloomberg News reported that Mudrick had sold all of his new AMC shares. The stock fell from its highs the day after the report.

AMC’s business was effectively shut down during the pandemic, with cinemas closed for months in most parts of the country and large studios delaying releases during the pandemic. The stock, however, was a favorite of traders on Reddit and has seen wild swings in the past few months.

The shares doubled last week to incredibly high volumes as retail speculative activity, fueled by message board chats, resumed.

The company took advantage of these price jumps by selling additional shares to raise cash. The stock is up more than 1,000% since the start of the year.

“Given that AMC is raising hundreds of millions of dollars, this is an extremely positive result for our shareholders,” said CEO and President Adam Aron in a filing. “We achieved this by issuing just 8.5 million shares, which is less than 1.7% of our issued share capital and only a small fraction of our typical daily trading volume.”

The dramatic price fluctuations could also be due to a short press in the stock caused by traders who wagered against the stock to buy stocks to limit their losses. According to S3 Partners, around 20% of the company’s outstanding shares are being sold short.

AMC has roughly $ 5 billion in debt and has had to defer lease repayments of $ 450 million as its revenues largely dried up during the pandemic. Theaters were closed for months to stop the virus from spreading, and when the company reopened its doors, few consumers were comfortable attending screenings and movie studios withheld new releases.

Now that vaccination rates are rising and the number of coronavirus cases is falling, consumer confidence in returning to theaters has increased. Not to mention the studios are finally releasing new content.

Over the weekend, John Krasinski’s “A Quiet Place Part II,” the sequel to his 2018 blockbuster, raised $ 48.4 million over Friday, Saturday and Sunday, the highest three-day loot of any movie release during the pandemic.

Throughout the four-day Memorial Day weekend, the North American box office made nearly $ 100 million in ticket sales.

While early box office revenues are promising, fundamental elements of the cinema business have changed over the past year, including cinema capacity, joint release dates with streaming services, and the number of days films are shown in theaters.

AMC’s securities filing, which closed Friday with a market capitalization of $ 11.8 billion, also includes a risk warning to investors: “Our market capitalization, as implied from various trading prices, is currently reflecting valuations that are significantly different from those before recent volatility that is well above our market cap immediately prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, and to the extent that those valuations reflect trading dynamics unrelated to our financial performance or prospects, buyers of our Class A common stock could see declines market prices suffer significant losses driven by a return to previous valuations. “

—With reporting from Sarah Whitten from CNBC.

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