5 predictions for 2024

I’ve started to celebrate New Year early in solidarity with the people of Samoa (any excuse will do). Therefore, having imbibed a lot of the amber nectar (Irish Whiskey in my case), I’m fearlessly making 5 predictions for 2024.

  1. Donald Trump becomes US President as many in the US start to realise that its global military hegemony is coming to an end. Ex-President Biden’s handlers do the decent thing and put him into a retirement home.
  2. Sir Keir Starmer becomes head of a minority Labour Government. He is then forced to resign over a scandal involving his relationship with Israeli lobbyists and links to the ‘deep state’.
  3. As Ukraine continues to lose in NATO’s proxy war against Russia, President Zelensky is assassinated by his own security services and Ukraine sues for peace with President Putin.
  4. Israeli genocide in Gaza is stopped not by the US but by a failed invasion of Lebanon. Hezbollah shows the world that it is a formidable fighting force. The world starts to realise that a one-state solution, creating a democratic entity that offers full human rights to both Israelis and Palestinians is the future for both Israelis and Palestinians.
  5. The future of autonomous driving is postponed for another decade and driver assistance using Artificial Intelligence becomes the hottest part of the tech sector. Seeing Machines is bought for 76.5p following a bidding war.

It only remains to wish all of you a happy, healthy and prosperous New Year!

Peel Hunt note questions Smart Eye and Seeing Machines comparison

Peet Hunt Analyst Oliver Tipping has issued a broker note on Seeing Machines that questions the contract size for Smart Eye’s recent US$150m win, while stating that Seeing Machines puts out minimum values for its wins. This is a point I made recently but, coming from Peel Hunt, it confirms it for any doubters out there.

Still, the most important point made in the note was that aside from its most recent $30m win, there are many more auto contracts expected to be announced by Seeing Machines early in the New Year. Tipping wrote: “This win was the first of the major European contracts Seeing Machines was hoping to win before the end of the year, thus its pipeline remains robust as it looks to deliver more wins in early 2024.”

The numbers game

Tipping also confirmed that Seeing Machines is very conservative regarding its contract values: “It  is  important  to  remember  that  the contract value Seeing  Machines reports is conservatively  based  off  minimum  production  volumes,  which are  likely  to  be  far  lower  than  the  actual  production  values  for  these contracts.”

Then he went on to caution investors. “It is vital for investors to be aware of the  differences  between  the  numbers  thrown  around by different  companies  in the DMS market. For example, it would be easy to be distracted by the SEK 1.55bn (US$150m) figure quoted in Smart Eye’s most recent win (which we believe to be General Motors). However, we are unclear how this figure has been calculated as Smart Eye  does  not  disclose its  method  for calculating the  value  of  these  contacts. In addition, this contract was as a tier 1 supplier to the OEM. Given it currently acts as a tier 2 supplier to this OEM, its CEO stated volume as a tier 1 supplier is only likely to ramp in 2029, into the 2030s (not from 2027 as mentioned in the RNS) and  thus  has  no  impact  on  cash  generation  in  the  short  to  medium  term.” 

Tipping went on to stress that the key indicator of success is cars on the road, stating: “Until Smart Eye starts reporting this number, the tangibility and true worth of the contract wins remains unclear.”

Still, I’m sure the figures put out by Smart Eye will help it immensely in any future fundraising efforts.

Aside from dealing a knock-out blow to those who think Smart Eye is the global leader in driver and occupant monitoring, the note maintained its ‘Buy’ stance on Seeing Machines and its 12p price target. 

Importantly, it also confirmed that Seeing Machines has, as promised by CFO Martin Ives, started to cut its expenditure. Analyst Oliver Tipping wrote: “Management confirmed that it has executed the first of its cost-cutting measures aimed at bringing the cash burn down to break-even by FY25 (-$3m a month exit run rate from FY23). We await further details in  the  1H24  update,  but  this  will  be  crucial  in  underpinning  the  long-term viability of the business. For now, the company has a strong balance sheet, which should see it to its targeted break-even date.”

Auto contracts worth $1bn

With its latest win Seeing Machines now has auto contracts officially worth US$366m. However, as previously stated, given Seeing Machines propensity to cite minimum values that turn out to be much larger, I believe the real worth of those contracts is approximately 3 times that. Yes, $1bn! 

Why is that significant? Well $1bn in auto contracts surely makes it a very desirable candidate for a takeover in the very near future, particularly as it is soon to hit break-even.

With the move to assisted driving taking over from dreams of full autonomy and legislation coming into effect this year in Europe that mandates driver monitoring, the future is looking very bright for Seeing Machines.

The writer holds stock in Seeing Machines.

History lessons: the Palestinians will defeat Israeli colonialism

History is full of lessons and one of them is that nation states can make grave errors, especially when led by ideologically driven leaders who lack morality, integrity and foresight.

Of course, Nazi Germany is the modern benchmark for this. Yes, Germany would have come to dominate Europe economically, but where exactly did the Holocaust spring from? Hitler and the Nazis did terrible and unnecessary things to the Jews, Gypsies and Russian prisoners of war. Shockingly, they were elected democratically and supported by the bulk of the German people.

How the wheel of history turns and surprises us. Now in Israel we have a Jewish state that has been brutally suppressing an ethnic group, the Palestinians, for many decades. The Israelis have been operating an Apartheid system to keep down the Palestinian population that it feels will demographically overwhelm it. It is reminiscent of South Africa’s Apartheid system but is arguably even more brutal. For, as Ronnie Kasrils pointed out, the Israeli states colonial settlers aim to remove the indigenous Palestinians and turn the country into a purely Jewish (racial) state.[1] 

If Israel has a leader with the vision of FW de Klerk it might still change course by voluntarily dismantling its Apartheid system. It could then work with the Palestinians (including Hamas) to help build a democratic one-state solution, as proposed by the late Edward Said. If the Afrikaners of South Africa could do it, why not the Israelis?


Yet events have taken a far darker turn with the Israelis going down the path of genocide against the Palestinians. Indeed, renowned Jewish scholars of the Holocaust have even highlighted the fact that Israel’s actions constitute genocide. And yet the US funds and arms its ally, in part down to the power of the pro-Israel lobby in the US. That isn’t some racist conspiracy theory, as Professor John Mearsheimer has previously explained in his book, The Israel Lobby and US Foreign Policy. I’d urge you to watch his videos.

The bulk of the mainstream media has swallowed the Israeli government’s lies about the events of October 7th and its causes, much as it did about the Ukraine war, in order to manipulate public opinion in support of Israel. Israel has also proven itself to be an effective propagandist, hiding the fact that it killed some of its own people in it is disproportionate response to the Hamas attack that day. 

In addition, there were no Israeli babies baked in ovens by Hamas, 40 Israeli babies did not have their heads chopped off, yet the media in Britain and elsewhere covered these stories as if they were true. Sadly, these lies were used to fuel the genocidal hatred of the Israelis (and their supporters worldwide) towards the Palestinians. Liberation has outlined some of this in an excellent article.

Ironically, they provided justification for countless war crimes by the Israeli military against the Palestinians. The so-called ‘Israel has the right to defend itself’ response much beloved by the British Prime Minister and his erstwhile ally Sir Keir Starmer to normalise state terrorism against a largely defenceless population.

The approach of the media was in stark contrast to the way the Ukraine war was treated. RT still isn’t allowed to be broadcast in the UK but Israeli propaganda is given free reign even while the IDF continues to torture hundreds of thousands of children, having murdered approximately 10,000. God only knows how these children have been damaged by the events of the past few months.

Despite the best efforts of the mainstream media, ranging from The Guardian to the BBC the truth is now, slowly coming out. However, even on the BBC today (December 14th, 2023) a reputable BBC journalist, Jeremy Bowen, repeated Israeli assertions that the Israeli civilians who died on October 7th were all killed by Hamas. In reality, it appears many were killed by the IDFs indiscriminate attacks against the houses in which they and the Hamas fighters were in.

The false narrative about the causes and the events of October 7th has been used to manipulate public opinion both inside and outside Israel. The aim appears to be to justify ethnic cleansing and the removal of the Palestinians from Israel.

Hamas is cited as the enemy but the comments of the many in the Israeli government as well as Israelis make it clear that in reality no distinction is made between Hamas and Palestinian civilians. 

The fact that Israel itself helped create Hamas to weaken the PLO is conveniently ignored. As is the fact that Hamas won elections back in 2006 and is essentially no more a terrorist organisation than was Nelson Mandela’s ANC fighting South African Apartheid. 

Greater Israel

The Zionist aim of a ‘Greater Israel’ that requires the removal of all indigenous Palestinians is immoral. Similarly, is it fair that in Israel an American Jewish settler has more rights than a native Palestinian?

The brutality used to enforce this genocidal project does in some respects have echoes of Nazi Germany. ‘Ein Volk’ (One people – the Jews) need more ‘Lebensraum’ (room to live) and a ‘Final  Solution’ must be deployed to deal with the indigenous Palestinian population who are ‘Untermensch’, racially inferior. If it wasn’t for social media and 24/7 reporting of these Gaza genocide who knows how far Netanayahu might go? One of his fascist ministers even suggested nuking Gaza! (He wasn’t sacked).

The crazy thing is you’d assume a people who were on the receiving end of The Holocaust would be sensitive about inflicting genocide on another people. Sadly, that isn’t how humans appear to operate. And history, lest we forget, is created by the victors.

Even a cursory knowledge of history (which doubtless I’ll be accused of possessing) appears to show that genocide has happened time and time again. If the people were wiped out successfully the victors were able to bury those skeletons in the cupboard of history. Ethnic Russians wiped out native peoples in their expansion east. The US pretty much did the same to the Native Americans, the Spanish to the indigenous Indians in the Americas , the British to the Australian Aborigines, the Belgians to the Congolese
well, you get the idea. Had the Germans won WW2, I doubt you’d even know about the Holocaust.

The endgame

Given the bloodthirsty intransigence of the current regime in Israel, only the US has the ability to prevent a much wider war in the Middle East, by making Israel stop the genocide in Gaza and its ethnic cleansing. It must then facilitate a genuinely even-handed political settlement between the Palestinians and Israelis while there is still time. Eventually, Israel won’t be in any position to choose how to proceed as the hatred its actions have created will eventually lead to the destruction of its Apartheid state. Better to grasp the nettle and make peace, while the US is still backing it.

I’m personally of the opinion that a single democratic state is the best solution for all concerned. Yes, it sounds idealistic but in Ireland and South Africa things changed for the better despite much hatred and bloodshed over centuries. If the British could make peace with the Irish and South Africa could end Apartheid, nothing is impossible with bravery and goodwill. I believe both Israelis and Palestinians possess those qualities – even if their leaders have yet to measure up to Nelson Mandela and FW de Klerk.

In the last resort, Israel can’t stand against the world without US backing, and that backing won’t last forever. Nor can US promises necessarily be relied upon. Just ask Zelensky, who stupidly bet all his chips on the US. US attention will eventually turn to China as it attempts to maintain the mantle of global hegemon. Where will that leave Israel in the future if it doesn’t make a comprehensive peace settlement soon?

The lesson of history is that an effective resistance will eventually defeat colonialism.

[1] Ilan Pappe‘ (ed.), Israel and South Africa: The Many Faces of Apartheid

US$30m contract for Seeing Machines

Great news from Seeing Machines today, as it announced a US$30m auto contract, which I think may well be PSA (part of Stellantis). However, others think it is likely to be Volvo (owned by Geely) moving from Smart Eye or even Jaguar, (owned by Tata).

If it is PSA, I look forward to state-of-the-art driver monitoring being launched in Peugeot, Citroen, DS, Opel and Vauxhall cars.

On the face of it the deal is much smaller than Smart Eye’s US$150m but, given that Seeing Machines tends to be ultra conservative, if you multiply the Seeing Machines minimum value by three and cut the Smart Eye one in half I think you’ll end up with a more realistic estimate of the value of both deals; US$90m versus US$75m.

Importantly, the announcement has confirmed that SEE management does deliver on its promises. Moreover, with the huge Consumer Electronics Show (CES) only 3 weeks away (9-13 January, 2024), I expect a lot more news to push the share price up considerably over the next month. We’ll see, I guess.

The writer holds stock in Seeing Machines.

Don’t despair with SEE: do more research

I must admit to having been a bit distracted by the ongoing genocide in Gaza over the past couple of months. Still, I felt it important to provide my views on the recent Kr1.55bn (US$150m) Smart Eye contract, as I know a lot of investors are rightly concerned by lack of news flow on the automotive front from Seeing Machines (AIM: SEE) – aside from a relatively small (US$15m) contract win in early November.

I do think the recent Smart Eye contract is with General Motors, as that has been the conclusion of 3 sources better placed than me to know about it (Colin Barnden, the RedEye analyst and my private source). Am I particularly concerned? Quite frankly, no. My guess is that, and it is only my guess, the contract is dual sourcing at bargain basement levels. As to the size of the contract, well SmartEye normally pump out the biggest figure they can so the lifetime value given is likely an absolute maximum.

Still, it is big positive for SEYE and I wish them well. The market is big enough for both SEE and SEYE and things are clearly hotting up in this space. 

As to SmartEye, being a Tier 1? Well, I think that is wishful thinking. Possibly a case of necessity being considered a virtue. For I still maintain my thesis that SEE takes 75% of the auto market with the Magna mirror and Valeo.  

Positives for SEE

If there is a positive for Seeing Machines, it’s that the logjam regarding larger auto contracts appears to be over. Moreover, the SEYE contract starts in 2027 so I think SEE via the Magna mirror has won a lot of contracts that will start before then.

That said, if we don’t get a big auto contract by the end of this quarter it’s definitely a disappointment. It’s particularly so given the fact that the strong likelihood of multiple contracts this quarter was flagged by both CEO Paul McGlone and his CFO, Martin Ive, in various interviews.

Still, I do believe they are honest and have been let down by OEM shenanigans re. The announcement of further contracts. My hope is that CES will deliver the news we’ve been waiting for re. Auto, with great news coming for Aftermarket with the launch of Gen 3 Guardian.

Indeed, I’ve been impressed by Ive since he joined (and not just because he looks like my younger brother). I also hear that he is cutting expenditure, as promised, to ensure SEE reaches breakeven as promised.

More effective communication

In the absence of said contract news, I’d like to see more timely and effective communication to stem the concerns of private investors. They (unlike fund managers) can’t just ring up the CEO to check on their investments. Moreover, for a private investor their investment often represents a huge proportion of their investment portfolio, not a mere 5 per cent maximum as in most funds.

I ask for this because I fear that many private investors are currently selling down their holdings because of a lack of reassurance from the company. Times for many are tough and I’d hate for private investors to miss out on what I increasingly believe will be rich rewards.

Please don’t take my word for any of this, it’s just my humble opinion and I’ve been wrong on details in the past. That said, being too early into an investment isn’t the same as being wrong. Indeed, I maintain that my original investment thesis remains intact, which is why I still hold this stock. In any case, do your own research as it will benefit you in the long run.

The writer holds stock in Seeing Machines.