Aspen Aerogels (ASPN) Draws Unusual Bull Spread
Aspen Aerogels (ASPN) strong name lately and interesting spread on 1/12 sold 1,000 August $10 puts to buy the $17.50/$30 call spread. ASPN rarely trades options and strong trend deserves a deeper look into the opportunity ahead for the company. The $489M materials stock focuses on aerogel insulation products which are specialty chemical products that can withstanthd extremes in temperature, both hot and cold, and has a number of industrial uses. Their largest market by revenue ($3.1B) is large-scale industrial facilities in refining, petrochemical extraction, LNG infrastructure, high-temperature power, and subsea low-thermal conductivity. ASPN has sales relationships with some major oil players including XOM, COP, CVX, and RDS.A as well as chemicals leaders like BASF and DOW. LNG is a big long-term market for them as more facilities go into construction and their aerogels can help reduce costs and footprint while not sacrificing output. They also do some building projects including fire prevention applications and expanding out into smaller, unique applications. One of those is apparently EVs. B Riley out with an interesting note on 12/31 saying the company has at least two EV applications in the works for 2021 with SK Group and a new third-party relationship for their carbon aerogel product on battery production. ASPN also is developing aerogels that enable greater energy density in lithium batteries. One of the leading causes of fire in batteries is thermal runaway which is where battery packs can catch fire and this is one of the biggest regulatory concerns facing EVs. ASPN’s silica aerogel offer a thin-profile ‘blanket’ on energy cells which drives a significant decline in fire potential. They see their bull case opportunity for thermal runaway at $150/car and base case at $100/car, so massive opportunity with the current outlook for vehicle production.