Nordbi Tue, 17 May 2022 06:38:27 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Nordbi 32 32 Live news: India’s LIC shares drop more than 8% on IPO debut Tue, 17 May 2022 05:11:05 +0000
Relatives of Ukrainian fighters sheltering in the Azovstal mill appealed for help to Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdoğan © Alexander Ermochenko/Reuters

Moscow said an agreement had been reached to evacuate wounded Ukrainian fighters from the Azovstal steel mill in Mariupol, the besieged Ukrainian port town.

“On May 16, as a result of talks with representatives of the Ukrainian military blocked on the territory of the Azovstal metallurgical plant in Mariupol, an agreement was reached on the removal of the wounded,” Interfax news agency on Monday quoted Russia’s defence ministry as saying.

Ukrainian officials did not immediately confirm or deny such an agreement with Russian forces, but they signalled an evacuation operation was under way.

Speaking on Ukrainian television, deputy defence minister Hanna Maliar declined to reveal details on the grounds “any information” could “harm processes” that are under way.

“In order to save lives, the entire Mariupol garrison is implementing the approved decision of the supreme military command and hopes for the support of the Ukrainian people,” Denys Prokopenko, commander of Ukraine’s Azov battalion, said in a video address shared via Telegram.

“The defenders of Mariupol carried out the order, despite all the difficulties, repelling the overwhelming forces of the enemy for 82 days and allowed the Ukrainian army to regroup, train more personnel and receive a large number of weapons from partner countries,” Prokopenko continued.

Scores of civilians were this month evacuated in a UN and Red Cross operation from Mariupol, which had a prewar population of more than 400,000.

Earlier on Monday, relatives of Ukrainian fighters sheltering in underground catacombs of the Azovstal mill appealed for help to Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdoğan during a meeting in Istanbul. Turkey has repeatedly offered to broker an evacuation from Mariupol and a peace agreement to end Russia’s war against Ukraine.

Funding giant Santander now has 80% of its computing in the cloud • The Register Mon, 16 May 2022 15:30:00 +0000

Spanish financial giant Santander has migrated 80% of its core banking IT infrastructure to the cloud as part of its $20.8 billion (€20 billion) modernization program, using in-house software created by resident developers.

Readers hoping for a tale of disaster and doom might be deeply disappointed, as the bank appears to have made steady progress over the past year compared to April 2021, when some 60% of its infrastructure was delivered offsite. .

The $48.3 billion (€46.4 billion) revenue financing giant is present in Europe, South America, Asia and North America. It made $3.17 billion (€3.053 billion) of its $8.44 billion (€8.124 billion) attributable profit in the United States last year, it said in its results for the 2021 financial year.

Gravity is the bespoke software used to help the bank switch from the core banking system that handles financial transactions including money transfers, deposits or loans.

Breaking any of these moving parts could have disastrous consequences – just ask TSB, the UK bank, which spun off parent company Lloyds Banking Group’s IT infrastructure in 2018, after being sold to the Spanish banking giant Sabadell Group in 2015. The sale launched a bad-thinking data center migration project that caused hours of downtime for customers and ultimately cost the CEO his job.

Moving to the cloud is supposed to make it easier to deploy new features in hours, not days. Santander says its own work will allow it to update applications more frequently and hopes to cut costs by moving to the cloud, saying the cloud push has reduced the energy consumption of its IT infrastructure by 70%.

The bank uses AWS and Microsoft Azure, as well as its own servers, which means public and private cloud deployments. Other banks around the world are also seizing the digital nettle, including Deutsche Bank, Lloyds Banking Group and SEB in Sweden. Last year, Barclays Bank signed a 10-year agreement with HPE to use its GreenLake platform for hybrid cloud.

The Santander Group has earmarked $20.8 billion (€20 billion) for digital transformation in 2020 to create global platforms and improve customer experience by improving the services they use. Some 3,000 developers were hired in the first year, bringing the total to 16,500.

“Gravity will help transform Santander into a ‘digital native’ company,” said Dirk Marzluf, chief operating officer and technology officer at Banco Santander. “This initiative is an important next step in the bank’s transition to a common technology stack that is used across the group’s footprint.”

TSB bank on a main street in the UK

Totally outsourced company: TSB to outsource its entire IT infrastructure to IBM for a whopping $1 billion after 2019 collapse


He claimed the company was moving “closer to Santander’s goal of becoming the best open financial services platform.”

The modernization project is expected to be completed by 2024, according to Santander’s original schedule. This also includes the implementation of machine learning and robotics, as well as reengineering processes.

According to Santander CEO Jose Antonio Alvarez, it had 50 million digital customers in the March quarter, up more than 10% from a year earlier and online transactions were up 50%.

Jon C Davies, research director at TechMarketView, said of the project: “The nature of these technology initiatives means that the most difficult elements of cloud migration are likely to remain. Therefore, it is not necessarily simple to predict how long Santander still has to go before its cloud journey is complete.”

So there may be war stories to report before the Santandar project is finished and dusted off. Or maybe not. ®

Ukraine Latest: NATO Says Turkey Doesn’t Plan to Block Nordics Sun, 15 May 2022 13:50:39 +0000

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Bloomberg News

(Bloomberg) —

Finland announced it will apply to join NATO, and Sweden is likely to follow. Turkey doesn’t plan to block the Nordic countries’ membership bids, NATO chief Jens Stoltenberg said after meetings in Berlin. The military alliance in June is expected to highlight Russian behavior as a direct threat in an updated strategic document. 

The UK defense ministry estimated that Russia has likely lost a third of the forces it sent to Ukraine in February, and its offensive in the Donbas region has stalled. Ukraine on Saturday won the Eurovision Song Contest. 

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Key Developments

Russia’s Backyard Weighs Opportunities, Threats From Putin’s WarNATO Lauds Historic Moment as Finland Applies to Join AllianceEU Drafts Plan for Buying Russian Gas Without Breaking Sanctions’Straw Owner’ Hides $1 Billion Worth of Russian Yachts, US SaysEU Draft Cuts Euro-Area GDP Forecast, Sees 6.1% Inflation World’s Food Problems Piling Up as India Restricts Wheat Exports

All times CET:

NATO Chief Says Turkey Doesn’t Plan To Block Accession (3:22 p.m.)

“Turkey has made it clear that its intention is not to block membership” of NATO for Finland and Sweden, said Jens Stoltenberg, secretary general of the military alliance, speaking after a two-day meeting of NATO foreign ministers in Berlin. 

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Stoltenberg said he was confident Turkey’s concerns , which came to the forefront on Friday, would be addressed without delaying the membership procedure. “A quick and swift process,” is still expected, he said.  

Addressing concerns about possible moves by Russia before the Nordic nations are fully ratified, Stoltenberg said “we will look into ways to provide security assurances, including by increasing NATO presence in the Baltic region, in and around Finland and Sweden.”

Some German Industry May Move to US in Gas Fallout (3:20 p.m.)

The shift from Russian gas to costlier LNG could prompt some German manufacturers to relocate to the US, Michael Huether, director of the research institute IW Cologne, said in an interview with Stuttgarter Zeitung and the Stuttgarter Nachrichten. 

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As Germany prepares to shift permanently away from cheaper Russian supplies, the US’s energy independence could make it an attractive option, Huether said. 

He added that Russia’s economy will be permanently damaged by its standoff with the West. “Putin is committing economic suicide,” Huether said.  

War Will Impact World for Decades, Germany Says (3 p.m.)

German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock predicted the war in Ukraine “will not be over so quickly” and said Germany and its international allies will face fallout from Russia’s invasion for decades. 

“Russia’s break with all the norms of peaceful coexistence, especially the European peace order, the deliberate destruction of humanitarian law: all this is a radical turning point in the international order,” Baerbock said after hosting talks with NATO counterparts in Berlin.  

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“All this has drastically changed the security situation in the European and Transatlantic sphere, and it requires far-reaching strategic answers,” she added.

Finnish President to Meet with US Senators (2:40 p.m.)

Sauli Niinisto will meet with Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell and Republican senators John Barrasso, Susan Collins and John Cornyn in Helsinki on Monday, his office said. 

The meeting comes after Finland on Sunday said it would apply to join the NATO military alliance, and will focus on the Nordic country’s security policies and Russia’s war on Ukraine. McConnell and the senators met in Kyiv on Saturday with President Volodymyr Zelenskiy. 

NATO Expected to Brand Russian Behavior a Direct Threat (12:19 p.m.)

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NATO allies are expected to highlight Russia’s behavior as a direct threat in an upcoming strategic document, where they’ll also address how to better support neighboring countries that are vulnerable to coercion and aggression, according to a NATO official. 

Allies will likely keep open the possibility of reviving relations if Moscow’s behavior changes, the official said, adding that the document will also address China and its relationship with Russia.

The so-called Strategic Concept document outlines the alliance’s priorities for the coming years, and is due to be finalized at NATO’s summit in Madrid in late June. The previous version, published in 2010, referred to Russia as a partner, wording that is set to be scrapped this time.

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Finland Applies to Join NATO to Deter Russian Aggression (12:03 a.m.)

Finland is applying to join the NATO defense alliance to deter potential aggression from Russia as its neighbor wages a full-scale war in Ukraine.

The formal decision was taken on Sunday, President Sauli Niinisto said at a press conference in Helsinki. The move comes days after Niinisto and Prime Minister Sanna Marin said the Nordic country “must apply for NATO membership without delay.”

Kuleba, Blinken Meet in Berlin (10:25 a.m.)

Ukraine’s foreign minister met with Antony Blinken in Berlin, where the US Secretary of State is attending the NATO meeting. Blinken relayed details of the latest round of U.S. security assistance for Ukraine. 

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Freeing up grain exports was among the topics of discussion as Russia’s blockade of Ukraine’s Black Sea ports prevents the breadbasket nation from shipping. 

The pair “committed to seeking a solution to export Ukraine’s grain to international markets,” according to a readout from the State Department.  

Russia Fires Cruise Missiles at Lviv Region, Governor Says (10:22 a.m.)

Russia’s navy fired cruise missiles at Lviv region in Ukraine’s far west, potentially from submarines in the Black Sea, regional governor, Maksym Kozytskyi said on Telegram. Four missiles hit a military target, with no casualties reported. Two were intercepted. 

Separately, an adviser to Mariupol Mayor Pitro Andryushchenko said Russian forces dropped incendiary bombs on the Azovstal steel plant in Mariupol as part of ongoing assaults. 

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Ukraine’s defense of Azovstal is still tying down Russian combat troops and inflicting casualties, according to the Institute for the Study of War, which said ground, air and heavy artillery assaults continued on Saturday. Ukrainian officials are attempting a negotiated evacuation of medics and injured servicemen. 

Rheinmetall Adviser Criticizes Scholz Over Tank Delay (8:50 a.m.)

Dirk Niebel, an adviser to the German defense firm Rheinmetall AG, said Chancellor Olaf Scholz was dragging his feet over obtaining export approval for up to 100 of the company’s Marder tanks to Ukraine. 

“Do you want to lose more time? That costs even more lives,” Niebel, a former development minister, told the Tagesspiegel newspaper. “You need to give Ukraine the support it needs for its survival fight now.” 

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The company has started to prepare the fighting vehicles and could start delivery in two to three weeks with sufficient ammunition, he said. Germany’s transfer of Gepard anti-aircraft vehicles has also been held up over a lack of ammunition.

Baerbock Says Sweden, Finland Could Join NATO Quickly (9:05 a.m.)

German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock told reporters in Berlin that Sweden and Finland would be able to join NATO “very quickly” if they decide to go ahead with applications, as is expected, and that there wouldn’t be a “grey zone” in the accession process. 

Her Canadian counterpart, Melanie Joly, underscored the need to move quickly, noting “disinformation campaigns that are going on in Finland and Sweden” as well.

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Russia’s Donbas Offensive Has Lost Momentum, UK Says (8:15 a.m.)

Russia has failed to achieve substantial territorial gains in the Donbas region over the past month and during that time has sustained “consistently high levels of attrition,” the UK defence ministry said in an intelligence update.

“Russia has now likely suffered losses of one third of the ground combat force it committed in February,” the UK said. “Under the current conditions, Russia is unlikely to dramatically accelerate its rate of advance over the next 30 days.”

The assessment comes days after Ukrainian repelled Russian attempts to cross the Siverskyi Donets river in the Luhansk region, 

Russia’s Backyard Weighs Opportunities, Threats From Putin’s War (7 a.m.)

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With Putin’s invasion of Ukraine stalling, other former Soviet states are weighing prospects for pulling away from Moscow’s orbit even as they fear risks of potential border conflict. 

The war is sending tremors along an arc of instability stretching from Ukraine’s neighbor Moldova through the Caucasus and into Kazakhstan in central Asia. Putin’s intentions have become an urgent national security question in countries with so-called “frozen conflicts” or that have large pro-Russian minorities. 

UniCredit, Citigroup Explore Asset Swaps to Exit Russia: FT (6 a.m.)

UniCredit SpA and Citigroup Inc. are considering swapping assets with Russian financial institutions as they try to exit the country while avoiding large writedowns on their operations there, the Financial Times reported. 

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The banks have explored deals to swap their Russian businesses for the local buyer’s foreign units, people with knowledge of the plans told the newspaper. UniCredit is also working on deals with non-sanctioned banks to swap its Russian loan books for their foreign credit portfolios, according to the report.

Ukrainian Band Kalush Orchestra Wins Eurovision (1:20 a.m.)

The Ukrainian band Kalush Orchestra won the Eurovision Song Contest in a show of support for the war-torn nation, the Associated Press reported. The public vote from home was decisive in securing the band’s victory, according to the report.

Front man Oleh Psiuk made a plea to the live crowd and television audience of millions for the remaining Ukrainian fighters trapped in the Azovstal steel plant to be freed, AP said. 

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Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy celebrated the victory in a Telegram post, saying “Our courage impresses the world, our music conquers Europe!” He said Ukraine will host the contest next year — as the winning country typically does — and hopes to “one day” host participants and guests in Mariupol.

‘Straw Owner’ Hides $1 Billion Worth of Russian Yachts, US Says (11:15 p.m)

US authorities are alleging that a Russian tycoon acted as the “straw owner” of two yachts worth more than $1 billion, including the $700 million Scheherazade, a superyacht linked to Putin.

Court filings in the South Pacific island of Fiji, where the US is trying to seize the $325 million yacht Amadea, reveal what US officials allege is a nest of offshore shell companies that were set up with the help of a yacht broker to conceal the true owners of both vessels — an allegation that lawyers for the listed owner and the broker dispute. A hearing is scheduled for Wednesday in Fiji on the fate of the Amadea.

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The layers of companies and trusts, stretching from the Marshall Islands to Switzerland, indicate the beneficial owner of both yachts is the former president of state-controlled Rosneft OJSC, Eduard Khudainatov, according to the documents. Khudainatov doesn’t appear on any sanctions lists.

EU Drafts Sanctions-Compliant Russia Gas Buying Plan (9:30 p.m.)

The European Union is set to offer gas importers a solution to avoid a breach of sanctions when buying fuel from Russia and still effectively satisfy President Vladimir Putin’s demands for payment in rubles.

In new guidance on gas payments, the European Commission plans to say that companies should make a clear statement that they consider their obligations fulfilled once they pay in euros or dollars, in line with existing contracts, according to people familiar with the matter. The EU’s executive arm told the governments that the guidance will allow them to purchase gas without breaching EU sanctions.

The clock is ticking because many firms have payment deadlines this month. If they don’t pay, gas flows could be cut off. 

©2022 Bloomberg L.P.



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China In-Focus — Bank Lending at Four-Year Low; Shanghai aims to reopen more businesses shuttered by COVID Sun, 15 May 2022 10:48:26 +0000

McDonald’s said on Monday it began the process of selling its Russian business, which includes 850 restaurants employing 62,000 people, making it the last major Western company to leave Russia since it invaded Ukraine in February.

The fast-food giant highlighted the humanitarian crisis caused by the war, saying retaining its business in Russia “is no longer tenable, nor in line with McDonald’s values”.

The Chicago-based company announced in early March that it was temporarily closing its stores in Russia but would continue to pay its employees. On Monday, he said he would seek a Russian buyer to hire those workers and pay them until the sale closes.

He did not identify a potential buyer.

CEO Chris Kempczinski said the “dedication and loyalty to McDonald’s” of employees and hundreds of Russian suppliers made the decision to leave difficult.

“However, we have a commitment to our global community and must stay true to our values,” Kempczinski said in a statement, “and our commitment to our values ​​means we can no longer shine the arks there.”

As it tries to sell its restaurants, McDonald’s said it plans to start removing golden arches and other symbols and signs bearing the company’s name. He said he would keep his brands in Russia.

Russia’s first McDonald’s opened in central Moscow more than three decades ago, shortly after the fall of the Berlin Wall. It was a powerful symbol of the easing of Cold War tensions between the United States and the Soviet Union.

McDonald’s was the first American fast food restaurant to open in the Soviet Union, which would collapse in 1991.

McDonald’s decision to leave comes as other US food and beverage giants, including Coca-Cola, Pepsi and Starbucks, have suspended or closed operations in Russia in the face of Western sanctions.

Companies ranging from British energy giants Shell and BP to French carmaker Renault have withdrawn from Russia, dealing a hit to their results as they seek to sell their holdings there.

Other companies have remained at least partially, with some facing a backlash.

McDonald’s said it expected to take a profit charge of between $1.2 billion and $1.4 billion for leaving Russia.

Its restaurants in Ukraine are closed, but the company said it continues to pay full salaries to its employees there.

McDonald’s has over 39,000 locations in over 100 countries. Most are owned by franchisees – only about 5% are company owned and operated.

McDonald’s said leaving Russia would not change its forecast to add 1,300 net restaurants this year, which will contribute about 1.5% to company-wide sales growth.

Last month, McDonald’s said it earned $1.1 billion in the first quarter, up from more than $1.5 billion a year earlier.

Revenue was nearly $5.7 billion.

Contrast Shore Bancshares (NASDAQ:SHBI) and Danske Bank A/S (OTCMKTS:DNKEY) Sun, 15 May 2022 05:17:21 +0000

Shore Bancshares (NASDAQ:SHBI – Get Rating) and Danske Bank A/S (OTCMKTS:DNKEY – Get Rating) are both finance companies, but which stock is superior? We’ll compare the two companies based on valuation strength, dividends, earnings, analyst recommendations, profitability, institutional ownership and risk.


Shore Bancshares pays an annual dividend of $0.48 per share and has a dividend yield of 2.5%. Danske Bank A/S pays an annual dividend of $0.10 per share and has a dividend yield of 1.3%. Shore Bancshares pays 41.0% of its earnings as a dividend. Danske Bank A/S pays 9.0% of its profits as a dividend. Both companies have healthy payout ratios and should be able to cover their dividend payments with earnings over the next few years.


This table compares the net margins, return on equity and return on assets of Shore Bancshares and Danske Bank A/S.

Net margins Return on equity return on assets
Shore Bancshares 17.67% 7.19% 0.69%
Danske Bank A/S 30.22% 7.09% 0.32%

Risk and Volatility

Shore Bancshares has a beta of 0.87, indicating that its stock price is 13% less volatile than the S&P 500. In contrast, Danske Bank A/S has a beta of 0.92, indicating that its stock price of its stock is 8% less volatile than the S&P 500. .

Insider and Institutional Ownership

56.2% of Shore Bancshares shares are held by institutional investors. 11.1% of Shore Bancshares shares are held by insiders. Strong institutional ownership indicates that large fund managers, endowments, and hedge funds believe a company will outperform the market over the long term.

Valuation and benefits

This table compares the earnings, earnings per share (EPS) and valuation of Shore Bancshares and Danske Bank A/S.

Gross revenue Price/sales ratio Net revenue Earnings per share Price/earnings ratio
Shore Bancshares $83.67 million 4.57 $15.37 million $1.17 4:47 p.m.
Danske Bank A/S $6.77 billion 1.89 $2.06 billion $1.11 6.68

Danske Bank A/S has higher revenues and profits than Shore Bancshares. Danske Bank A/S trades at a lower price-to-earnings ratio than Shore Bancshares, indicating that it is currently the more affordable of the two stocks.

Analyst Notes

This is a summary of recent ratings and price targets for Shore Bancshares and Danske Bank A/S, as provided by

Sales Ratings Hold odds Buy reviews Strong buy odds Rating
Shore Bancshares 0 0 1 0 3.00
Danske Bank A/S 2 4 1 0 1.86

Shore Bancshares currently has a consensus target price of $22.00, suggesting a potential upside of 14.17%. Given Shore Bancshares’ higher consensus rating and higher likely upside potential, research analysts clearly believe that Shore Bancshares is more favorable than Danske Bank A/S.


Shore Bancshares beats Danske Bank A/S on 10 out of 15 factors compared between the two stocks.

Shore Bancshares Company Profile (Get a rating)

Shore Bancshares, Inc. operates as a bank holding company for Shore United Bank which provides various commercial and consumer banking products and services to individuals, businesses and other organizations. It offers checking, savings, overnight investment, and money market accounts; and regular and IRA certificates of deposit, as well as CDARS programs and cash management services. The Company also offers commercial loans, such as secured and unsecured loans, working capital loans, lines of credit, term loans, accounts receivable financing, property acquisition and development loans. , construction loans and letters of credit; loans for the construction of residential real estate; residential mortgage loans; and consumer loans, including home equity, auto, installments, home improvement and personal lines of credit, as well as other consumer finance products. In addition, it offers non-deposit products, such as mutual funds and annuities, and discount brokerage services; and trust, asset management and financial planning services. In addition, the Company provides merchant credit card clearing, as well as telephone, mobile and Internet banking; safes; debit and credit cards; payroll direct deposit; and automated teller machine (ATM) services. It operates 29 full-service branches, 30 ATMs and 5 loan origination offices in Baltimore City, Baltimore County, Howard County, Kent County, Queen Anne County, Caroline County, Talbot County, Dorchester County, Anne Arundel County, and Worcester County in Maryland. ; Kent County, Delaware; and Accomack County, Virginia. The company was founded in 1876 and is based in Easton, Maryland.

Danske Bank A/S Company Profile (Get a rating)

Danske Bank A/S provides various banking products and services to corporates, institutions and international customers. The Company offers corporate finance services, investment products and debt capital markets, mergers and acquisitions advisory services, equity and loan capital markets services, international payments, cash management, credit transfers, and supply chain and trade finance services. It also provides solutions for sustainable finance, derivatives, fixed income, foreign exchange, equity trading, cash forecasting, collection services, financial platform, export finance, letter credit management, liquidity management, factoring, working capital management, guarantees and in-house banking. In addition, it offers custody, depository, data management, post-trade, banking and middle office, collateral management and derivatives clearing services. The company is present in Denmark, Finland, Sweden, Norway, United Kingdom and internationally. Danske Bank A/S was founded in 1871 and is headquartered in Copenhagen, Denmark.

Receive daily news and reviews for Shore Bancshares – Enter your email address below to receive a concise daily summary of breaking news and analyst ratings for Shore Bancshares and related companies with’s free daily email newsletter.

AP News in Brief at 6:04 p.m. EDT | National Fri, 13 May 2022 22:04:01 +0000

Russia takes losses in failed river crossing, officials say

KYIV, Ukraine (AP) — Russian forces suffered heavy losses in a Ukrainian attack that destroyed a pontoon bridge they were using to try to cross a river in the east, Ukrainian and British officials said in another sign of Moscow’s struggle to salvage a war gone awry.

Ukrainian authorities, meanwhile, opened the first war crimes trial of the conflict Friday. The defendant, a captured Russian soldier, stands accused of shooting to death a 62-year-old civilian in the early days of the war.

The trial got underway as Russia’s offensive in the Donbas, Ukraine’s eastern industrial heartland, seemed to turn increasingly into a grinding war of attrition.

Ukraine’s airborne command released photos and video of what it said was a damaged Russian pontoon bridge over the Siversky Donets River and several destroyed or damaged Russian military vehicles nearby. The command said its troops “drowned the Russian occupiers.”

Britain’s Defense Ministry said Russia lost “significant armored maneuver elements” of at least one battalion tactical group in the attack earlier this week. A Russian battalion tactical group consists of about 1,000 troops.

Turkey’s leader opposes letting Finland, Sweden join NATO

HELSINKI (AP) — Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said Friday that his country is “not favorable” toward Finland and Sweden joining NATO, indicating Turkey could use its membership in the Western military alliance to veto moves to admit the two countries.

“We are following developments concerning Sweden and Finland, but we are not of a favorable opinion,” Erdogan told reporters.

The Turkish leader explained his opposition by citing Sweden and other Scandinavian countries’ alleged support for Kurdish militants and others whom Turkey considers to be terrorists.

He said he also did not want to repeat Turkey’s past “mistake” from when it agreed to readmit Greece into NATO’s military wing in 1980. He claimed the action had allowed Greece “to take an attitude against Turkey” with NATO’s backing.

Erdogan did not say outright that he would block any accession attempts by the two Nordic nations. However, NATO makes all its decisions by consensus, meaning that each of the 30 member countries has a potential veto over who can join.

Musk puts Twitter buy ‘on hold,’ casting doubt on $44B deal

DETROIT (AP) — Tesla billionaire Elon Musk has put his plan to buy Twitter on what he called a temporary “hold,” raising fresh doubts about whether he’ll proceed with the $44 billion acquisition.

Musk tweeted early Friday that he wanted to pinpoint the number of spam and fake accounts on the social media platform. He has been vocal about his desire to clean up Twitter’s problem with “spam bots” that mimic real people, and he appeared to question whether Twitter was underreporting them.

But the company has disclosed in regulatory filings that its bot estimates might be low for at least two years, leading some analysts to believe that Musk could be raising the issue as a reason to back out of the purchase.

“Twitter deal temporarily on hold pending details supporting calculation that spam/fake accounts do indeed represent less than 5% of users,” Musk tweeted Friday morning, indicating he’s skeptical that the number of inauthentic accounts is that low.

On Friday, Musk subsequently tweeted that he’s “still committed to acquisition.” Neither Twitter nor Musk responded Friday to requests for comment. Musk has conducted a long flirtation with Twitter that culminated in an April deal to acquire the social platform.

Israeli police beat pallbearers at journalist’s funeral

JERUSALEM (AP) — Israeli riot police on Friday pushed and beat pallbearers at the funeral for slain Al Jazeera journalist Shireen Abu Akleh, causing them to briefly drop the casket in a shocking start to a procession that turned into perhaps the largest display of Palestinian nationalism in Jerusalem in a generation.

The scenes of violence were likely to add to the sense of grief and outrage across the Arab world that has followed the death of Abu Akleh, who witnesses say was killed by Israeli troops Wednesday during a raid in the occupied West Bank. They also illustrated the deep sensitivities over east Jerusalem — which is claimed by both Israel and the Palestinians and has sparked repeated rounds of violence.

Abu Akleh, 51, was a household name across the Arab world, synonymous with Al Jazeera’s coverage of life under Israeli rule, which is well into its sixth decade with no end in sight. A 25-year veteran of the satellite channel, she was revered by Palestinians as a local hero.

Thousands of people, many waving Palestinian flags and chanting “Palestine! Palestine!” attended the funeral. It was believed to be the largest Palestinian funeral in Jerusalem since Faisal Husseini, a Palestinian leader and scion of a prominent family, died in 2001.

Ahead of the burial, a large crowd gathered to escort her casket from an east Jerusalem hospital to a Catholic church in the nearby Old City. Many of the mourners held Palestinian flags, and the crowd began shouting, “We sacrifice our soul and blood for you, Shireen.”

Fatal boat trip highlights Haitians fleeing violence

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico (AP) — Haitians are fleeing in greater numbers to the neighboring Dominican Republic, where they board rickety wooden boats painted sky blue to blend with the ocean to try to reach Puerto Rico — a trip in which 11 Haitian women drowned this week, with dozens of other migrants believed missing.

It was the latest fatal trip as U.S. authorities said they have detained twice the number of migrants in and around U.S. jurisdictions in the Caribbean in the past year compared with a year earlier.

“We’ve seen our Haitian numbers explode,” Scott Garrett, acting chief patrol agent for U.S. Customs and Border Protection in Puerto Rico, told The Associated Press.

Garrett and others say Haiti’s political instability, coupled with brutal gang violence and a crumbling economy, have prompted people to flee, with more doing so via the Dominican Republic. Both countries share the island of Hispaniola, which lies west of Puerto Rico, with a treacherous area known as the Mona Passage separating the two.

In the most recent capsizing, spotted on Thursday, 11 bodies of Haitian women were found and 38 people rescued — 36 of them Haitians and two from the Dominican Republic. Authorities say one of those rescued was charged with human smuggling. The boat capsized about 11 miles (18 kilometers) north of the uninhabited island of Desecheo, west of Puerto Rico. Dozens are believed missing.

House subpoenas its own, grave new norm after Jan. 6 attack

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Jan. 6 committee’s remarkable decision to subpoena House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy and other congressional Republicans over the deadly insurrection at the Capitol is as rare as the deadly riot itself, deepening the acrimony and distrust among lawmakers and raising questions about what comes next.

The outcome is certain to reverberate beyond the immediate investigation of Donald Trump’s unfounded efforts to overturn Joe Biden’s presidential election victory. Fuming Republicans vow to use the same tools, weaponizing congressional subpoena powers if they wrest control of the House in November’s midterm elections to go after Democrats, even at the highest levels in Congress.

“It’s setting a very jarring and dangerous precedent,” said Rep. Peter Meijer of Michigan, who was among the handful of Republicans who voted to impeach Trump over the insurrection.

On Friday, the subpoenas for McCarthy and the five Republican lawmakers were served as the committee investigating the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the Capitol is wrapping up its initial phase. Public hearings are expected to begin in June, and the panel is still determining whether to call Republican senators to testify.

While the summons for McCarthy and the other Republican lawmakers was not wholly unexpected, it amplified concerns over the new norm-setting in Congress.

Baby formula shortage fueling spike in milk bank interest

The U.S. baby formula shortage has sparked a surge of interest at milk banks around the U.S. with some mothers offering to donate breast milk and desperate parents calling to see if it’s a solution to keep their babies fed.

It’s a pathway that won’t work for every formula-fed baby, especially those with special dietary needs, and it comes with challenges because the country’s dozens of nonprofit milk banks prioritize feeding medically fragile infants. The organizations collect milk from mothers and process it, including through pasteurization, then work with hospitals to distribute it.

The shortage stemmed from a safety recall and supply disruptions and has captured national attention with panicked parents looking to swap and buy formula online and President Joe Biden urging manufacturers to increase production and discussing with retailers how they could restock shelves to meet regional disparities. Biden’s administration also said Friday that formula maker Abbott Laboratories committed to give rebates through August for a food stamp-like program that helps women, infants and children called WIC.

At the Mothers’ Milk Bank Northeast, based in Newton, Massachusetts, interest in donating and receiving milk because of the shortage has spiked. Typically, the milk bank gets about 30-50 calls a month from people looking to donate. On Thursday alone, 35 calls came in from potential donors, said Deborah Youngblood, the bank’s executive director.

“It’s interesting the first sort of response that we got was from potential donors — so people responding to the formula shortage with sort of an amazing, compassionate response of how can I be part of the solution?” she said.

‘From crisis to death’: Probing teen’s last, desperate hours

MISSION, Kan. (AP) — “Y’all here to protect me,” the youth asked the officers, beseechingly. “Right?”

The 17-year-old’s foster father, unable to deal with a teen who seemed to be in the throes of schizophrenia, had called Wichita police. When they arrived, Cedric “C.J.” Lofton refused to leave the porch and go with them; he was obstinate but afraid, meek but frantic.

After an hourlong stalemate, the police lost patience. It was time to take him away — by force, if necessary.

And so began the last two days of a life plagued by family dysfunction, brushes with the law, years in foster care and, finally, mental illness. The events leading to C.J.’s death, just a day short of his 18th birthday, would be captured on video; the result would be litigation, pleas for reform, cries that the system had failed yet another Black youth.

Authorities would decide against any prosecutions in connection with his death. But there were crucial errors, and vital holes in the safety net that had fatal consequences.

New York AG lawyer: Evidence could support action vs. Trump

NEW YORK (AP) — As a federal judge weighs Donald Trump’s lawsuit seeking to halt a civil investigation into his business practices, a lawyer for the New York attorney general’s office said Friday that evidence found throughout the three-year probe could support legal action against the former president, his company, or both.

The lawyer, Andrew Amer, said at a hearing in Trump’s lawsuit against Attorney General Letitia James that “there’s clearly been a substantial amount of evidence amassed that could support the filing of an enforcement proceeding,” although a final determination on filing such an action has not been made.

Amer, a special litigation counsel in James’ office, said the office is “nearing the end” of the civil investigation, which James has said uncovered evidence Trump’s company misstated the value of assets like skyscrapers and golf courses on financial statements for more than a decade.

James could decide to bring a lawsuit and seek financial penalties against Trump or his company, or even a ban on them being involved in certain types of businesses, as happened in January when a judge barred ex-drug company CEO Martin Shkreli from the pharmaceutical industry for life.

Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg has said that a parallel criminal investigation into Trump is continuing, although the term of a grand jury hearing evidence in that matter expired last month.

Mickelson decides not to defend title at PGA Championship

Phil Mickelson withdrew Friday from the PGA Championship, electing to extend his hiatus from golf following his incendiary comments about a Saudi-funded rival league he supports and the PGA Tour he accused of greed.

Mickelson made history in the PGA last year when he won at Kiawah Island at age 50, making him the oldest champion in 161 years of the majors.

He has not played since Feb. 6 at the Saudi International and has been out of public view.

Mickelson met the deadline to sign up for the PGA Championship on April 25, though his manager said Lefty was unsure about playing but wanted to keep his options open.

The PGA of America announced his decision on social media.

Chewing on denim jackets is better than taking mortgages in Uganda Fri, 13 May 2022 15:20:15 +0000

I don’t know if some of you have seen the recently renovated Constitutional Square Gardens, but if you haven’t and you finally see them, right in the middle of them, where the green grass is turns into a concrete driveway, there’s where I’d chew on a denim jacket before taking out a mortgage from a Ugandan bank.
Don’t get me wrong, denim jackets aren’t a fantastic delicacy, but on a menu with Ugandan mortgages, they’re not only attractive, they’re the best option.

Ugandan mortgages share two common aspects; they have a term of 20-25 years at many banks and are usually priced with an interest rate of 18-25% depending on the bank you choose. In the rare event that the sun rises early, Housing Finance, a bank partly owned by the Ugandan government, offers an interest rate of 16%.
There are many ways to approach the problem of mortgages in the country, but none will be as important as the cost of money. The cost of raising funds for mortgages and distributing that money and recovering it at a profit determines, in large part, how the banks arrive at their atrocious and execrable interest rates.

It is currently estimated that there are approximately 10,000 active mortgages in the country. If each mortgage is valued at 200 million shillings on average, that’s 2 trillion shillings of other people’s savings floating around. The banks can only lend according to the savings made on their drawings. So that must be 2 trillion shillings in savings.
Mortgage lending only improves in countries with a high savings culture; and currently the best mortgages at least by estimation are issued in Japan, Finland, Denmark etc….
The cost of money in these countries is cheap due to the high savings cultures of these countries. It’s no wonder, then, that when World Savings Bank data relates to GDP, these countries again come out on top.

But the second, equally important point is that countries can only improve their culture of saving by improving the economic conditions of their people and increasing their life expectancy. It is important to stay on earth long enough. Not only do you see a lot, but you also do a lot and earn a lot more money.
In Uganda, with a lifespan of 63 years, it can be difficult to convince a bank when you are 40 years old [The average age at which people take on mortgages] that you will give them their money back in 25 years. When all the data on the books shows that your income will decline, a hospital bill will make your income absent, and your death will tear the family apart in squabbles over your wealth.

These things that we don’t know about in this country largely determine how risk profiles are set, they determine how people put their money in the bank for a long term stay and also determine how the rate of final interest on the mortgage is established.
This is why some, including your columnist, have pleaded against mid-term access and also continue to plead for the early retirement of civil servants and private sector employees.
URBRA’s recent effort to get 50% of the pension as collateral for mortgages seems like a valid argument, but overall it’s bad economics and will do very little to reduce the risk of mortgages.

All data and science show that better well-being in education and health produces better living conditions and guarantees longevity of life, that longevity guarantees longer saving periods which then serve reduce the risk on the money lent. The government doesn’t have to believe me on this, it just has to choose the data collected by the Bank of Uganda on lending practices.
But also, if you live long enough, denim jackets are out of fashion and you don’t have to chew them up in Constitutional Square.

Bank Norwegian ASA, subsidiary of Nordax Bank Group, publishes its interim report for January-March 2022 Fri, 13 May 2022 14:20:04 +0000

Norwegian Bank ASA publishes today its interim report covering the period January-March 2022. To access the full report, please visit

Nordax Bank AB (publ) will publish its interim report for the corresponding period on May 25, 2022.

For more information, please contact:

Patrick McArthurCFO, Nordax

Tel: +46 760 32 69 70


About Nordax

Nordax Bank is a leading specialized bank in North Europe with powerful owners in the form of Nordic Capital Fund IX, Nordic Capital Fund VIII and Sampo. We currently have approximately 2 million private customers, of which just under 1.2 million are credit card customers, in the Nordic countries, Spain, Germany and the Netherlands. We are a specialist bank that, through responsible lending, helps people make informed decisions for a life they can afford. We are a flexible complement to large banks. Instead of quantity, we have specialized in a few selected products that we know best: personal loans, mortgages, mortgages with capital release, credit cards and savings accounts. In November 2021, Nordax Bank acquired Norwegian Bank ASA, which has brought not only a large number of customers to the Group, but also complementary assets in terms of product expertise, digital distribution and geographical presence. Since 2019, Svensk Hypotekpensionspecialist in equity release products, is a 100% subsidiary of Nordax Bank. The Group has more than 500 employees, with offices in stockholmMalmo, Gothenburg and Fornebu, Oslo. The credit assessment process is one of Nordax’s core competencies. It is comprehensive, based on sound and data. Nordax customers are financially stable. Like a December 31, 2021loans to the public amounted to 70.7 billion Swedish crowns and deposits at 67.4 billion Swedish crowns.

Learn more about Nordax at–a-subsidiary-within-the-nordax-bank-group–publishes-its-interim-report-for- january,c3566878

(c) Decision 2022. All rights reserved., sources Press Releases – English

VersaBank (NASDAQ:VBNK) and Nordea Bank Abp (OTCMKTS:NRDBY) Critical Survey Fri, 13 May 2022 05:35:47 +0000

VersaBank (NASDAQ: VBNK – Get Rating) and Nordea Bank Abp (OTCMKTS: NRDBY – Get Rating) are both finance companies, but which company is superior? We’ll compare the two companies based on their dividend strength, institutional ownership, valuation, earnings, analyst recommendations, risk and return.

Benefits and evaluation

This table compares the gross revenue, earnings per share and valuation of VersaBank and Nordea Bank Abp.

Gross revenue Price/sales ratio Net revenue Earnings per share Price/earnings ratio
VersaBank $75.30 million 2.96 $17.80 million $0.74 10.97
Nordea Bank Abp $11.62 billion 3.15 $4.53 billion $0.96 9.94

Nordea Bank Abp has higher revenue and profit than VersaBank. Nordea Bank Abp trades at a lower price-to-earnings ratio than VersaBank, indicating that it is currently the more affordable of the two stocks.


VersaBank pays an annual dividend of $0.08 per share and has a dividend yield of 1.0%. Nordea Bank Abp pays an annual dividend of $0.47 per share and has a dividend yield of 4.9%. VersaBank pays 10.8% of its profits as a dividend. Nordea Bank Abp distributes 49.0% of its profits as a dividend. Both companies have healthy payout ratios and should be able to cover their dividend payments with earnings over the next few years.

Analyst Notes

This is a summary of recent recommendations for VersaBank and Nordea Bank Abp, as provided by MarketBeat.

Sales Ratings Hold odds Buy reviews Strong buy odds Rating
VersaBank 0 0 0 1 4.00
Nordea Bank Abp 1 4 5 0 2.40

Nordea Bank Abp has a consensus target price of $52.66, suggesting a potential upside of 451.99%. Given the likely higher upside of Nordea Bank Abp, analysts clearly believe that Nordea Bank Abp is more favorable than VersaBank.


This table compares the net margins, return on equity and return on assets of VersaBank and Nordea Bank Abp.

Net margins Return on equity return on assets
VersaBank 23.07% 10.16% 1.28%
Nordea Bank Abp 34.47% 10.87% 0.65%

Institutional and insider ownership

24.3% of VersaBank shares are held by institutional investors. Strong institutional ownership indicates that hedge funds, endowments, and large fund managers believe a stock is poised for long-term growth.


Nordea Bank Abp beats VersaBank on 9 out of 15 factors compared between the two stocks.

About VersaBank (Get a rating)

VersaBank, a Schedule I chartered bank, offers various banking products and services in Canada. The Company offers deposit products, such as guaranteed investment certificates, registered retirement savings plans, daily interest savings accounts and tax-free savings accounts, as well as deposit insurance. It also provides lending services, including point-of-sale financing which involves the purchase of loans and leases from financial companies operating in various sectors; and commercial banking services including commercial real estate, public sector/infrastructure financing, condominium financing and residential mortgages. The company was previously known as Pacific & Western Bank of Canada and changed its name to VersaBank in May 2016. VersaBank was incorporated in 1979 and is headquartered in London, Canada.

About Nordea Bank Abp (Get a rating)

Nordea Bank Abp offers banking products and services in Sweden, Finland, Norway, Denmark and internationally. It operates through Personal Banking, Business Banking, Corporates and Institutions, and Asset and Wealth Management segments. The Personal Banking segment provides various financial services to residential customers through internet and mobile banking, telephone, online meetings and branches. The Business Banking segment offers payment, cash management, cards, working capital management and financing solutions to businesses and individuals. The Corporate and Institutional segment provides financing, cash and payment management, investment and securities banking, and capital market products to corporate and institutional customers. The Asset and Wealth Management segment provides investment, savings and risk management solutions to high net worth individuals and institutional investors. This segment also offers life and retirement products and services. The company was founded in 1820 and is headquartered in Helsinki, Finland.

Get news and reviews for VersaBank Daily – Enter your email address below to receive a concise daily summary of the latest news and analyst ratings for VersaBank and related companies with’s FREE daily newsletter.

FREYR Battery (FREY) CEO Tom Einar Jensen on Q1 2022 Results – Earnings Call Transcript Thu, 12 May 2022 05:59:00 +0000

FREYR Battery (NYSE:FREY) Q1 2022 Earnings Conference Call May 11, 2022 7:30 AM ET

Company Participants

Jeff Spittel – Investor Relations

Tom Einar Jensen – Chief Executive Officer

Jan Arve Haugan – Chief Operating Officer

Oscar Brown – Chief Financial Officer

Conference Call Participants

Jose Asumendi – JP Morgan

Maheep Mandloi – Credit Suisse

Evan Silverberg – Morgan Stanley


Welcome and thank you for standing by. Welcome to the FREYR Battery Q1 2022 Earnings Call. [Operator Instructions] I will now turn the conference over to you speaker. Please go ahead.

Jeff Spittel

Good morning, good afternoon and good evening. Welcome to FREYR Battery’s first quarter 2022 earnings conference call. With me today on the call are Tom Einar Jensen, our Chief Executive Officer, Jan Arve Haugan, our Chief Operating Officer; and Oscar Brown, our Chief Financial Officer.

During today’s call, management may make forward-looking statements about our business. These forward-looking statements involve significant risks and uncertainties that could cause actual results to differ materially from expectations. Most of these factors are outside FREYR’s control and are difficult to predict. Additional information about risk factors that could materially affect our business are available in FREYR’s S-1 and annual report on Form 10-K filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission, which are available on the Investor Relations section of our website.

With that, I will turn the call over to Tom.

Tom Einar Jensen

Thank you, Jeff and again, good morning, good afternoon, good evening, everyone dialing in to this first quarterly result of 2022 FREYR’s fourth quarterly results report, since we are in public on the New York Stock Exchange back on July 8, 2021. Just repeating what Jeff has just been through and then moving to Slide 3 today’s agenda. What I am really proud of and find very compelling is that we are here showing you a picture of the dry room in the customer qualification class. Our Chief Operating Officer will come back to the status of our operational progress later today.

But today, we will go through some of the commercial developments which continue at accelerating pace, general market backdrop, our augmented value proposition to deliver into an unprecedented decade, the decade of the battery. We will talk about our operations and supply chain. Our new Chief Financial Officer will take you through the financial status of the company. We will focus on the strategic priorities moving forward while we open up for Q&A.

We find ourselves in quite challenging environments in difficult times. We obviously reach out to all the people in Ukraine that have a very tough time these days and that is obviously impacting markets all around us. But from a battery producers’ point of view, what this is underlining is the need for an accelerated energy transition. The energy transition requirement is now clearer than ever and batteries form as I have been underlining many times a critically important part of that, not only to decarbonize transportation, but also to decarbonize energy systems globally. And to basically eliminate the need for Russian gas into the European markets, we will need an unprecedented development in renewable energy in Europe, which again will be capitalized to a large extent by more storage and lithium ion battery supply.

FREYR has very strong momentum across all market verticals. And we announced yesterday an additional off-take agreement with Powin and today, we are very pleased to announce an additional 25 gigawatt hours of offtake agreements that we have entered into over the recent weeks. This means that we have more than doubled our offtake agreements since our previous earnings call, equating more than 100 gigawatt hours worth of offtake from our initial Gigafactories. This principally means that we are sold out on capacity from our Gigafactory 1 and 2 in Norway, up until and including 2013.

FREYR is committed to deliver on speed, scale and sustainability. And this is ever more important than it ever has been. And our team is delivering on our commitments. We are finding ourselves as mentioned in highly volatile and challenging markets, but our financial position remains very strong. And the financing options that we are progressing, is progressing according to plan. Capital is available for the right projects and we are finding ourselves in a very interesting sweet spot to accelerate the even more urgently required energy transition.

Talking about commercial traction, commercial traction continues on all fronts for FREYR. If I am moving on this slide from the right to the left, let me now start by saying that we have now signed more than 100 gigawatt hours of initial offtake agreements, 50 of those with Honeywell and a leading global ESS player now is in closing stages of negotiation. So, 50 gigawatt hours is now close to becoming definitive sales agreements. These are critically important aspects of unlocking project finance to our Gigafactory 1 and 2, which our CFO will come back to in a second.

As announced yesterday and augmented today, we have an additional 50 gigawatt hours on top of that safety on track to definitive sales agreements and additional conditional offtake agreements bringing again the total signed agreements now for more than 100 gigawatt hours. We have an additional 100 gigawatt hours under negotiation. And we have those across commercial mobility and EV segments in addition to our very strong penetration in the ESS markets. But on top of that, we are starting to see very strong traction in particular in the EV markets. And we have now in discussion more than 200 gigawatt hours worth of annualized supply leading up to 2030. This could turn FREYR from a triple-digit gigawatt hour player to a terawatt player over time. This is supporting our ambition to diversify the technology offering as well as diversifying our geographical footprint. To have an integrated supply chain approach with localized and decarbonized raw material supply is a critical component in this to ensure that we have a very cost competitive solution to offer to our customers.

We alluded to yesterday we announced our agreement with Powin, one of the leading ESS players and longest standing ESS players in the U.S. A 28.5 gigawatt hour offtake agreement is a milestone for FREYR, adding to our already announced agreement with Honeywell and the leading ESS player. But on top of this, we have also signed an additional 25 gigawatt hours from two of the leading ESS players in U.S. and Europe. We will as we progress towards definitive sales agreements for not yet disclosed names, announcing who these players are, but I can assure our investors that these are absolutely leading players in the ESS space, fundamentally supporting the fact that we have a leading technology solution to offer to our customers.

The 24M technology with thick and larger electrodes is generating a lot of traction in particular in the ESS space. But as you also are aware of with Volkswagen coming into the 24M family towards the end of last year and starting to develop together with 24M EV solutions based on the semisolid technology, the 24M technology suite is applicable across the space, but ESS players in general and this is, in particular, for us exciting are to now to a large extent being marginalized by the EV demand. And recent price increases from Tier 1 producers in Asia are fundamentally supporting our accelerated development in the ESS space supported to a large extent by our ambition to have localized and decarbonized value chains to develop security of supply of critical energy infrastructure.

Larger and thicker electrodes, when produced at gigawatt hour scale locally with decarbonized supply chain, is gaining very strong market share, driven by as mentioned the security of supply considerations, but ultimately, it’s a function of cost and decarbonization advantages. And we believe that when we produced these solutions at scale that we will have a fundamental cost advantage relative to conventional production. While there are multiple initiatives for cell production globally, in particular, in the European market crowded with startups, we believe many of these will struggle to deliver technology, commercial wins and ramp up capability.

When we move into the next decade, we believe a select few major players will remain and FREYR is on track to become a global champion in the battery – clean battery solution space. As we presented in the pipe presentation when we went public on the New York Stock Exchange, FREYR is a technology agnostic or technology flexible organization. And we are increasingly recognized by a broader and broader suite of partners across the value chain as an industrialization partner of choice. This caused us mention both for battery cell technology providers as well as for up and downstream players seeing from the vantage point of a battery cell producer. Localized and decarbonized supply chains, coupled with world leading project execution and operational excellence skills, which FREYR has been very focused on developing over the last 18 months is attracting significant partnership potential for us upstream, downstream and horizontally. We are now taking significant steps to expand our total addressable market potential by also diversifying technology to conventional technology solutions as well as into solid state solutions.

Product differentiation and diversification is going to be key to become a leading provider of clean battery solutions over time. All of this is happening, while we are progressing and accelerating our plan to develop the 24M technology suites. We are seeing increasing and accelerating interest of the 24M technology, as mentioned and articulated with our traction on the ESS side, but also in commercial viability and EV solutions. So, all market verticals are seeing the dramatic cost potential in the 24M technology and we are as previously mentioned going to be the first one to take this technology to gigawatt hour scale in the most favored locations globally. What you should expect moving forward from FREYR is a lot of momentum on numerous fronts, including diversification up and downstream as well as technology diversification to essentially increase our total addressable markets.

With this, I will turn over to Jan Arve who has in an excellent way been leading our efforts in delivering on our commitments and basically committing to deliver moving forward. So with that, Jan Arve, I will turn it over to you.

Jan Arve Haugan

Thanks, Tom and hello to everyone listening to us today on our call. I will start with an update on our operations. And the key message that I have to share with you today is that our teams are making remarkable progress on both the CPP construction and the preconstruction activity on the combined Gigafactory 1 and 2 in Mo i Rana, Norway. As a lot of other industries, we too experienced disadvantages due to COVID-19 situation and of course supply chain disruptions.

However, I am pleased to report that the construction of the customer qualification plant or the CQP as we abbreviate it is progressing very close to the schedule. As previously reported, we are expecting to complete the site acceptance test now for the first sample test in the facility in Mo i Rana near year end 2022. Hopefully, many of you have seen the materials we have posted on social media detailing the work that’s been done by our skilled project execution team. Thanks to their effort and the outstanding support they are receiving from our technical staff in Oslo. We are advancing steadily towards factory acceptance testing during the summer and into the fall. Our Gigafactory 1 and 2 team is also making excellent progress in advance of the start of the construction.

Groundwork preparations on the site, detailed engineering is largely complete. Indicative roles from the different suppliers of production line equipment are now being analyzed and the structure of frame agreement contracts are being formalized. We intend to present the project plan for final investment decision to the FREYR board during next month. In the interim, the Board has approved additional capital spending to facilitate the long lead time orders on building and infrastructure materials. This is mainly to support and optimize the installation of the production line equipment in the factories. Recruitment for the workforce is progressing well and we are currently updating the standard operating procedure for all key operations.

I am also very pleased with the efforts and achievements we have made in recent months to secure key raw materials for the combined Gigafactory 1 and 2. Amidst an increasingly challenging environment for upstream raw materials, our team has completed qualification program on technical capability, capacity and quality control for most of the raw materials that we need for the factories. We are now working to finalize the volumes, delivery and pricing terms with our suppliers. At FREYR, we believe that developing the localized and decarbonized supply chain at giga-scale is an essential competitive differentiator. And we are already implementing our strategy by moving closer to final investment decision on our collaboration with Elise to construct an LFP cathode plant in the Nordic region.

By localizing upstream elements of the value chain, we can reduce our emission profile over the lifecycle of our battery production and we can simply simplify the process of delivering decarbonized cells to our customers in Europe and the U.S. Our teams are focusing on arriving rapidly at final investment decision on the proposed LFP cathode plan in conjunction with the combined Gigafactory 1 and 2. This is not a small undertaking and there have been and will be continued to be challenges along the way. We are in progress of doing something, but that never has been done before in the Nordic region. A startup of a company, FREYR is developing now, that will be a complex multibillion dollar manufacturing facilities in a somewhat remote yet industrialized region of Norway, but with unrelenting commitments to decarbonization, operational excellence and strong financial returns on the capital that we are deploying.

My reassurance to you today on this call is that this task is in reliable and experienced hands. Our projects, supply chain and technical people are the best that they can do. And they are collectively focused on our goal to deliver clean next generation batteries to our customers. On behalf of the entire operations team in FREYR, thank you for your confidence in us. Our mantra is to commit to deliver and deliver on our commitments.

And with that, I turn the call over to Oscar.

Oscar Brown

Thanks, Jan Arve and hello, everyone, listening today. Since this is the first time I’ve had the privilege of speaking to you at FREYR as the CFO, I thought I’d start by sharing some of my observation as a new joiner to the company. I am very excited to be here at FREYR because of the people, the opportunity and our unique competitive position in the sector was strong secular, not just cyclical tailwinds.

After just 5 weeks with the company, I am incredibly impressed with the quality of the people we have in our organization. FREYR has attracted seasoned dynamic leaders and vibrant creative teams around them, driving our execution, our strategy and our business development. I personally believe FREYR is the best position new battery industry player in the market. Less than a year ago, the company brought together the best of Norway in the United States. From Norway, incredible people with both the strong entrepreneurial spirit and deep execution and operational experience and excellence from major projects around the world. The country has a very supportive government, vast natural resources, including abundant cost competitive renewable energy, and a global credibility that’s unmatchable around sustainability in the energy transition. From the U.S., the company enjoys a New York Stock Exchange listing, a substantial U.S. investor base, access to the U.S. capital markets, U.S. technology through MIT spin-off 24M, and its investment by and U.S. joint venture with affiliates of Koch Strategic Partners.

When you couple our brilliant people with our growth trajectory and the growth trajectory of the battery market overall and FREYR’s opportunity to develop sustainable competitive advantages from our decarbonization commitment and our technological differentiation, you have a powerful story. FREYR is part of the solution for energy inflation, energy security, and climate change. As excited as I am to be here, I also recognize the importance of capital formation to enable us to deliver on our strategic objectives. We are moving swiftly toward initial giga-scale development and we are being presented with several promising business development opportunities, all of which require additional capital over time.

Turning to Slide 11, I will note that we are already in discussions with several key stakeholders to explore options to finance our growth as efficiently as possible. The potential sources of capital for FREYR can be grouped into three buckets. The first is support from government entities in Norway, the EU and the United States. FREYR’s mission to decarbonize battery production at giga-scale is resonating with all of these – within all of these spheres and in the wake of the deeply troubling events in the Ukraine is becoming increasingly clear that developing localized supply chains of batteries is a matter of national security. The forms of potential financial support that could originate from government organizations include grants, direct lending and guarantees, all of which could enable us to accelerate our growth ambitions.

The second major source of potential funding is of course project financing. As we convert our initial conditional offtake agreements to bankable definitive sales agreements, FREYR will accelerate the project financing process with our banking partners and government agencies. Although project financing is a time intensive and lengthy process, the quantum and low cost of capital that should be available to us as construction begins to ramp up will be exceptionally helpful. And this market remains quite strong today.

The final potential funding bucket is from private and public capital raising activity. We are quite aware that the capital markets have been volatile and challenging thus far in 2022, but we believe that FREYR’s unique story and the opportunity in the battery market will continue to attract interest from global capital providers and other stakeholders. Our team is evaluating several potential financing structures and we look forward to sharing additional details with you when appropriate.

Turning to Slide 12 now, I will walk you through a brief financial overview. The key point is our balance sheet remains incredibly strong. We concluded the first quarter of 2022 with $525 million of cash and equivalents and no debt, which provides us with great financial flexibility. As we look ahead to the second quarter of 2022, our total net cash uses including operations and capital expenditures should be expected to increase from what we saw in the first quarter. This is due to both organizational development and preparatory work on the Gigafactory in addition to high activity on the construction of the customer qualification plant and the testing center nearby.

Our priorities for the year 2022 are to deploy growth capital responsibly, evaluate and select the best strategic investment options by FREYR and to progress our capital formation efforts. Our finance and leadership teams are working around the clock and in many time zones to advance these objectives. We are excited and we look forward to exploring opportunities to partner together with our investors, our industrial partners and other stakeholders as FREYR grows.

And with that, I will turn the call back over to Tom for some closing remarks.

Tom Einar Jensen

Thank you, Oscar, and thank you Jan Arve. It’s of course easier to be the CEO of FREYR when I have such capable people helping and supporting the development of the company.

So to summarize, FREYR’s strategy is built up around three core tenants. These tenants are speed, scale and sustainability. We are committed to deliver and we are delivering on our commitments. Our near-term priorities, is to fund the expansion of our growth trajectory. The capital formation plan is accelerating on multiple paths. Our intention is to prioritize speed and to optimize the cost of capital. Capital is available and it’s deeply supported by Norwegian EU and U.S. governmental support across the capital structure.

We are continuing to expand and establish our operations and supply chain. We are starting to look like a battery company. We are raising – we are releasing additional CapEx for the preconstruction of Gigafactory 1 and 2. And we are reaching FID on Gigafactory 1 and 2 in parallel with the proposed LFP capital plans. All of which is going to happen later this year as previously announced.

On the commercial side, we have very strong momentum which is continuing to grow on a daily basis. We are focusing on converting our initial conditional offtake agreements to definitive sales agreements and we expect them to exceed 100 gigawatt hours by 2030 and to have them converted later this year. We will secure additional conditional offtake agreements in the ESS and now also in the mobility space with an additional 100 gigawatt hours by 2030, supporting an accelerated development of additional capacity beyond Gigafactory 1 and 2.

Finally, we are now seeing very strong traction based on an industrialization partner of choice approach vertically integrated up and downstream in a partnership based way, but also with diversification on technology that we are seeing very strong traction across all market segments, including mobility and EV commitments. We are in dialogue and commercial negotiations where we exceed 200 gigawatt hours spike in yearly offtake potential by 2030 and our ambition is to secure at least 100 gigawatt hours per year of that well before 2030 on an annualized basis, allowing us to unlock further capacity expansion in the geographical regions that we are currently located in and potential others.

So with that, I am going to turn it over to Q&A. I thank everyone for your attention. Thank you for your trust and patience. With FREYR, we will continue to look over the horizon, commit to deliver and deliver on our commitments. Back to you, Jeff.

Jeff Spittel

Thanks, operator. I think we can open up the line for questions now.

Question-and-Answer Session


Thank you. [Operator Instructions] Your first question comes from the line of Jose Asumendi of JPMorgan. Please go ahead.

Jose Asumendi

Hi, Tom. Jose of JPMorgan. Few questions, please. The first one I’d love to hear when we think about your ESS contracts, can you maybe lay out a little bit one of the unique selling points or the reasons why you are winning these contracts? What makes FREYR different to the competitors out there? And then second, second and third, maybe just put the questions together as we try to map a little bit revenues and CapEx on a 5-year perspective and thinking about Slide #5, how do we put together where the revenue projection 4, 5 years out, when do you start getting the revenues into the business? And the second, can you maybe give us a bit of a – notifies your CapEx projection but at 12 o 16 months CapEx projection, so we can model the company a bit better? Thank you.

Tom Einar Jensen

Thank you, Jose. So, on the first question, why we are progressing and winning contracts? Ultimately, I think that question should be posed to the ones we are winning them with. But I think the way in which we are positioning this clean battery solutions, with localized production and over time decarbonize the localized supply chains is obviously something that is resonating and ultimately a critical component of ensuring decarbonization of the energy systems, 4-hour storage solutions, 2-hour storage solutions, maybe even 8-hour storage solutions are today’s solutions that can be delivered with lithium-ion battery solutions and the 24M technology, where we can produce larger and thicker electrodes, basically reducing the need for additional, let’s call it modules and packs and racks around them. Because we are just building larger energy carrying solutions, obviously allows us to drive down system level cost on the ultimate ESS solution as well. So, this means that it’s a cost competitive, localized solution, which is really driving the interest. In addition, as also mentioned, there is to a certain extent, the EV market is in a way vacuum cleaning the current supply chains of batteries from predominantly the Asian providers, and therefore they are being in a way pushed out a little bit and they want to try to secure additional supply sources.

So, those are some of the key points around why we are winning these contracts. We do believe that we will continue to generate a lot of traction in the ESS space. We also do believe that the ESS space is much larger than most people have anticipated so far, for the exact purpose of decarbonizing energy systems. The sun shines when it shines and the wind blows when it blows, but we need to store that energy to basically have electricity at night and when the wind isn’t blowing. So, 80% of the world’s electricity generation today give-or-take is non-renewable. And it needs to move to 20% non-renewable in less than 20 years and that is impossible without large amounts of storage. And this is now gradually starting to – I think the – or come to realization with more and more stakeholders around the world basically require an accelerated deployment of ESS solution. So, that’s kind of point number one.

On point number two, during our investor presentation, when we went public back last year, we said that we were going to target 43 gigawatt hours of installed capacity by 2025, 83 gigawatt hours of installed capacity by 2028, and more than 100 gigawatt hours of capacity in the 2030 horizon. We have no reason to sort of change that assumption. Today, we are looking into to what extent we can potentially accelerate it. We are as also mentioned by our Chief Operating Officer, of course, exposed to inflationary pressure. We are putting together an updated project finance package with our project finance banks and advisors and looking into it.

What I can generally say is that, of course, currently, we are seeing price inflation also impacting the battery cells. Some of our Asian competitors have been increasing prices on LFP based cells, 2x of 20% each. We still think that over time, those prices will start to gradually come back again as more and more raw material supply comes on stream. Our general sales agreement will have pass-through mechanisms in them to cater for those price hikes on certain raw materials. So, that price increase really is something that is shared to a large extent with our customers.

On the CapEx front, we are also of course experiencing inflationary pressure everyone with a Reuters screen can obviously sort of see that, but the relative CapEx advantage of the 24M technology remains the same. And we have previously argued that we believe in a 50% lower CapEx spend for our technology, if you compare it to conventional as long as we build at large scale. That is why also having this commercial traction and having an ability to have visibility on larger installed capacity will allow us to negotiate even better terms for the CapEx figures. So, that’s kind of as long as I think I can go at this point, we will, of course, come back to the market when we are presenting the final investment decision on the first facility and that would obviously be done in a value accretive manner generating robust returns for our investors. So I think I will leave it at that and jump to the next question.

Jose Asumendi

Thank you.


Thank you. Your next question will come from the line of Maheep Mandloi of Credit Suisse. Please go ahead.

Maheep Mandloi

Hey, hi, everyone. Thanks for taking my questions. Just moving quickly, on the technology side, could hear a lot of emphasis on LFP on this call, could you just clarify on that and like on your mix of LFP and nickel manganese batteries like how should we think about that going forward? And in terms of your contracts, also with ESS and potentially that new auto OEM, what those technologies could be for those as well? Thanks.

Tom Einar Jensen

Yes. Good morning, Maheep. Thank you for the question. So Gigafactory 1 and 2 will predominantly be if not entirely be an LFP-based solution. That is obviously supported by the off-take agreements, where all the ESS players are predominantly focusing on LFP solutions due to the lower cost of that – of that technology and also the inherent characteristics of LFP with lower energy density potentially than NMC, but obviously, with a very long cycle life, but typically you want these ESS solutions to last 20 years plus and therefore having lower energy density and longer cycle life is really, again, very suiting the 24M technology very well. I would like to sort of hurry to mention that our production platform is chemistry agnostic, which means that if we were to get traction, which we are already seeing that we have on NMC and higher nickel content batteries or other sort of capital solutions for that matter, we could rejig one of our production lines too, they basically produce a different capital material. But right now, we have more demand than what we can produce in Gigafactory 1 and 2. So, we will now be accelerating the efforts that we already have ongoing for Gigafactory 3 and 4, the Gigafactory development plants in Finland as well as our joint venture development in the U.S. with Koch Strategic Platforms, which by the way, is also progressing very well. There is very strong interest across the United States for establishing additional Gigafactories through the partnership with FREYR and Koch. And we got an initial 130 parties who were interested in attracting us as a producer. We are now going through a funneling and hydrating, let’s say process around that. And we will come up obviously back to our investors with updates on this when we have a little bit more free to offer. But the long story short, LFP is behind most of, if not all of the offtake agreements that we have announced so far.

Maheep Mandloi

Got it. That’s really helpful color. And just in terms of the value for the new 50 gigawatt hours supply agreement, does that click the dollar amount you could kind of talk about or should we expected something similar to the ones we saw with Honeywell in the previous years of this company?

Tom Einar Jensen

So Maheep, I think, right now the price pressure on batteries is reasonably high and many of the Asian providers have increased their prices quite significantly driven in large part by the increase in lithium prices. Now, our commercial agreements with these players will have pass-through mechanisms in them. So depending on where you are and what sort of underlying prices you are getting for the raw materials that will ultimately impact the price on an ongoing basis of the products that we produce. Generally speaking, we are committing to reduced prices of these products over time as we are continuously increasing and improving the energy density and the general technical characteristics of the batteries we produce. We are also constantly focusing on increasing the overall equipment efficiency, which is a function of yield and uptime in the machinery. And again here, that conversion cost part of the picture is an area where FREYR’s operators and FREYR’s experienced personnel led by Jan Arve will be world leading in terms of reaching as high yield and uptime in our machinery as possible. We come from an industry, many of us in the aluminum industry, where very high OEE is always kind of targeted and the organizational structure and how we are sort of implementing this will basically support getting very high uptime and we believe higher uptime than what is common in the conventional lithium-ion battery space today and the 24M technology being a much simplified production process should also allow us over time to get better and better in producing this. So over time, you should expect the prices to come back to longer term trends of reduction, albeit at a slower reduction pace than what we have seen in the last 10 years. So this is a long way of sort of not answering your question so to speak. But I think you would have to think about long-term trends in pricing. And we are implementing a technology that has a significant cost advantage relative to marginal cost and marginal producer. And as these markets get larger and larger, you would start to see more normal, let’s say, behavior also on the pricing side for more and more standardized products across the different chemistries.

Jan Arve Haugan

I really appreciate the answer. And I guess, yes, the cost structure just makes it somewhat difficult at this stage. But just like one last question for me, just on the conversion of these conditional agreements, could you just like walk us through like what is kind of required here or what should we look for over here in terms of the agreements with the customers like what could move the needle towards finalizing those agreements?

Tom Einar Jensen

Well, I mean it’s a normal process, nothing sort of sinister or very complicated about it. It is basically ironing out the specific technical and commercial details and negotiating that in, let’s call it the environment we find ourselves in. These are advancing and getting into closing mode for Honeywell and the global ESS player as mentioned. We will be announcing the conversion of those imminently. And we will start the similar process with the three additional ones immediately. We are already in that process. So, you should expect us to continuously announce additional, let’s call it initial agreements, and then over time, converting them to firm agreements, and then we convert them to firm agreements, of course, more commercial details around the agreements will be communicated. And this is also as mentioned, important, from a project finance point of view. So, of course, our lenders will require this ability on the commercial terms of the agreements that will underpin the development of capacity. And clearly, that is going to be required for that to be unlocked. And we have no reason to believe that we are not going to get there in time for the FID that we have previously communicated.

Maheep Mandloi

Really appreciate taking our questions and congratulations on the strong pipeline. Thank you.


Your next question comes from the line of [indiscernible] of Clarkson Securities. Please go ahead.

Unidentified Analyst

Good afternoon, guys and first of all, congratulations with the wrapping up the quarter, and, of course, the latest conditional off-take agreements. It was nice to see that you also started touching up on supplies from future Gigafactories. And yes, and I know you have touched upon this on the last question, but could you provide any color on your progress there and what we could expect in the near future and any timeline details that will be great? And my second question is regarding your cash flow guidance from Slide 12 you mentioned that there will be some slight increase in the coming quarter related to ramp up and construction activity. And is there any possibility to get a range there and if not, or if so, with others could be fixed at least in the coming quarters as well. I mean you have it all ramped up in your pipeline, if everything goes as planned. Thanks.

Tom Einar Jensen

Thanks for that question. And let me take the first one, and then I will have Oscar, take the second one. So, as previously mentioned, 43 gigawatt-hours installed by 2025, 83 gigawatt-hours by 2028 and more than 100 gigawatt-hours by 2030, is what we have previously communicated. We are looking into whether we have an opportunity to accelerate some of that. And once we have sort of done all the math on that, we will obviously update the market accordingly. When it comes to Gigafactory 1 and 2, that’s an 18 gigawatt-hour LFP capacity 8 production lines up at what we labeled the Central [indiscernible], the central sort of area of more industrial parks. As our Chief Operating Officer indicated, we are getting very close to having the technical basis to make the final investment decision. And we will be recommending that to the Board of Directors later this summer. These eight production lines and the all sort of setup, we have also created what we label an idealized eight production lines system, which then forms as a blueprint for additional Gigafactories to be developed. We have also now come quite far in doing the detailed investigation of what we label Gigafactory 3 and 4, which we are targeting to locate right next to the customer qualification plant. So, the idealized footprint can then be localized there. Constantly over time, we will obviously also be improving the production process and implementing new generations of the 24M technology, which basically means increasing the speed of production. So, going from 20 meters to 30 meters to 40 meters per minute, and sort of how we are pushing the raw materials through the system. That of course increases the capacity that we can produce with a given system. If we were on top of that to sort of move from LFP to NMC, the energy density and NMC of course, means that you are getting more watt-hours per kilogram and therefore more kilowatt-hours per production line. So, to actually sort of give very precise guidance on where this is going to be, is a moving target, let’s say. It is not difficult for me to imagine much higher numbers much faster than what we have previously indicated. But that needs to be supported by commercial traction. And it also needs to be supported by of course, getting bankable agreements in place so that we can project finance a large part of that CapEx spend. So, on that note, I am going to hand it over to Oscar to talk about the other question.

Oscar Brown

Yes. So, I will just point you on the longer out quarters, of course, similarly. But a lot of this has to do with what Tom just mentioned in terms of the timing of some of these decisions and so forth for the out quarters, but for next quarter – for this quarter we are in now. So, in the first quarter, we spent from the balance sheet, $41 million net. And so this quarter, as I mentioned, it will be a bit higher so directionally, again, very hard to target because what changes in working capital, we have some small grants that we expect to come in, and things like that, but focus just on our change in cash, to actually more towards $50 million and $40 million last quarter, I think is the way to think about it. But some of that could move around a bit dramatically. And the breakdown is also going to be moving right. Whereas last quarter, we had OpEx, many OpEx items that will be in the future, become CapEx as we get closer to taking FID and complete some of the engineering and so forth. So, hopefully it’s directionally helpful. But that’s kind of where we were getting to.

Unidentified Analyst

Yes. That’s great. And can I just follow-up with one more question, actually related to my first question. So, my question is now that you are targeting potential, I know everything is moving target. But if I could expand for prior to any factories in U.S. and or Finland, is that the case, or have I misunderstood?

Tom Einar Jensen

So, I don’t – that might be the case, or we might move faster in Finland or in the United States. So, I think we are contemplating making additional investment decisions in all three of these locations quite rapidly after making the FID of Gigafactory 1 and 2. But we need to sort of get all the ducks in a row so to speak, and I am sure that, raw materials supplies secured, of course, the off-take agreements are there and that they are bankable and then that we have funding in place for it, etcetera. And then we need to marry that up with whether we are going to produce all of the cathode material ourselves. So, whether we sort of in the interim, source it from an additional qualified supplier, etcetera, etcetera. So, this is a fairly complicated puzzle. But the good news is that’s also alluded to by Jan Arve. We have a very capable team who have done this many times in other industries, built multiple projects in parallel, secured supply chains, etcetera, etcetera. And this is now what we are doing albeit for the first time in Norway, but we are doing it at lightning speed, in my opinion, and moving quite forcefully forward. So, we will come back to the market and our investors with updates on all of this as we have a little bit more definition around it.

Unidentified Analyst

Alright. Thank you, guys. Thank you for clarification.


So, our next question comes from the line of Evan Silverberg of Morgan Stanley. Please go ahead.

Evan Silverberg

Good morning guys, Evan Silverberg on for Adam Jonas. As you guys are having your early discussions with government entities, what exactly do they need to see from FREYR prior to providing funding? Thanks.

Tom Einar Jensen

Good morning, Evan. Great to hear from you. So, let me talk about Norway first and then maybe Oscar you can talk a little bit about DoE as two examples. We are obviously also in dialogue with EU based institutions and the European Investment Bank and other institutions. But from the Norwegian government standpoint, in June the Norwegian government will launch a national battery strategy. And it’s quite rare that they actually established battery strategies for or strategies for a particular industry. But they are increasingly recognizing that the battery value chain is a very suitable, let’s call it energy transition industry for Norway to be a leading part of. That has been a rapidly working, I would say, five-month to six-month process where we have obviously been quite integral into it, since we are the leading and largest initiative on battery production in Norway. So, we have had multiple iterations with them, where we have provided them with our inputs, not only on what such a strategy should include, but also of course, what commercial stakeholders like us would require. What we have submitted to them is that there needs to be level playing fields, basically meaning that grants, such as other battery initiatives in Europe are receiving under EU competition law needs to be similar in Norway. We have said that guarantees leveraging basically the Norwegian government’s balance sheet, which as we all know, is fairly significant needs to be leveraged to ensure that we can get as high fraction of a project finance based structure guaranteed through internationalization guarantees to basically promote and accelerate the development of green solutions in Norway. And different sorts of bridge mechanisms until the project finance solution is in place, etcetera. So, all of this is resonating very well. And we will know a lot more about this when the national battery strategy is launched in the not too distant future. So, it’s weeks out really. So, stay tuned, Evan, and then you will get more visibility on this. This is obviously key for us to basically provide risk mitigation for building gigawatt-hour scale facilities of a new industry that is inherently of course, risky, but they are increasingly understanding it and supporting it greatly. So, Oscar, maybe some thoughts on DoE.

Oscar Brown

Sure. Before I get there too, I mean for example, on the EU, we have already made progress. We have applications in for significant grants, as well as guarantees and the support, as Tom mentioned. So, in some cases, we have matured to that level to have those applications. And you guys probably follow in detail, the DoE in the U.S. has a whole bunch of programs, particularly on the loans side, that are very attractive for building facilities like what we are building in Norway in the U.S. And so one of the things you kind of need is progress and development, and a detailed plan on what you plan to build and where you are sourcing and raw materials are coming from and so forth and the likes. So, we have been in good dialogue with them on a number of programs as well as on the grant side. And so it’s just a matter of progressing those. Some of these are brand new. Some of these have been around a little bit. But as the programs that the administrations are rolling out, you will get more clarity. We are right in there trying to understand them. We have got a call on Friday, in fact, and I was just there in Washington a couple of weeks ago. So, we are active on this. And it’s kind of progress on both sides that needs to be shown. But right now we don’t – I mean we don’t have a specific plant lined out for the U.S. We are looking at site selection and the like with our partner. But that’s the kind of thing you need to fix. I think the requirements are similar, as in Europe, but just sort of different what the U.S. will spend on it.

Evan Silverberg

Thanks. And just one follow-up, obviously, FREYR has a goal of creating local supply chain. So, specifically for battery grade lithium carbonate and hydroxide how and where are you guys thinking of potential sourcing? Thanks.

Jan Arve Haugan

And as we have indicated, we have – we are looking at this, together with the pre-approved supplier Aleees for Taiwan. And we are looking at different locations predominantly now, first of all, in the Nordic Region. And as we also commented during the presentation earlier today that this – we would try to do in parallel with the final investment decision for the Gigafactory 1 and 2. So, obviously, it’s mainly in the Nordic Region, which is the first step.

Tom Einar Jensen

And in terms of raw material supply into that as per the sort of deeper part of the question Evan, so lithium hydroxide and lithium carbonate, we are already in discussions with various suppliers of that into that put through, essentially, the capital producer, and whether that becomes, a joint venture or licensing arrangement is something that we will get back to. But obviously, securing the raw material and lithium hydroxide and carbonate and both of them actually was needed is progressing well. We don’t have any sort of real concerns around it even though of course, we are monitoring also the challenges and volatility in the market. But longer term there is and tied to when we are starting up commercial production. We are – we have a plan that sort of matches up with that and the initial ongoing, deep discussions really support having this online in time for ramping up the commercial facility.

Evan Silverberg

Great. Thank you very much guys.


There are no further questions at this time. I will turn the call back to Mr. Jeff Spittel.

Jeff Spittel

Great. Thank you, operator. Thank you everybody for your interest this quarter. We will talk to you soon on the road and look forward to catching up in person or virtually. Thanks again. That will conclude the call.