Ballard Power reports progress on stack production capability in China
Ballard Power Systems has provided an update regarding significant progress being made toward the establishment and commissioning of an FCvelocity-9SSL fuel cell stack production operation in the City of Yunfu, in Guangdong Province, China. As of closing on this transaction in October 2016, Ballard had received payments totaling $10.9 million and since then has received further payments of $8.1 million in relation to a contract milestone, for a total of $19.0 million. The transaction to establish a production operation was announced on July 18, 2016 and has a contemplated minimum value to Ballard of $170 million over 5-years. The transaction includes these key elements: Ballard will receive approximately $20.0 million in Technology Solutions revenue for technology transfer and other services in relation to the establishment of a production line in Yunfu for the manufacture and assembly of FCvelocity-9SSL fuel cell stacks, with most of this revenue expected to be recognized in Q4 2016 through 2017; At the October 25, 2016 closing of the transaction, the Guangdong Synergy Ballard Hydrogen Power Co joint venture was created to undertake stack manufacturing operations; JVCo is owned 90% by Guangdong Nation Synergy Hydrogen Power Technology Co. Ltd. and 10% by Ballard; and On commissioning of the operation by JVCo, expected in late-2017, Ballard will be the exclusive supplier of membrane electrode assemblies for each fuel cell stack manufactured by JVCo, with minimum annual MEA volume commitments on a "take or pay" basis totaling in excess of $150 million over the initial 5-year term from 2017 to 2021. Significant progress has already been made to achieve the targeted commissioning of the JVCo manufacturing operation in late-2017. All long lead-time capital equipment items for the JVCo production line have now been specified and ordered, the layout and key infrastructure requirements of the manufacturing facility have been advanced and facility construction is underway. All equipment is expected to be installed in the facility during the first half of 2017, with process qualification work scheduled for the second half of 2017. It is expected that commissioning will be completed and production will begin in late-2017. "Progress is on-track to ready the joint venture fuel cell stack production operation," said David Whyte, Ballard Vice President - Operations. "Our business model in China offers near-, mid- and long-term cash flow streams at various points in the value chain. We have already received $19 million from this stack JV transaction and our $150 million long-term MEA supply contract provides forward visibility on baseload MEA production volumes. In addition to minimum MEA volumes, we also expect Ballard to realize value at the stack level from our participation in JVCo. Finally, at the module level we expect to receive technology transfer fees as well as recurring royalty payments from modules assembled by localization partners, while also driving demand for stacks from the JVCo production line for use in those modules." Mr. Whyte continued, "With Ballard having exclusive rights to sell stacks produced by JVCo outside of China, we expect to have access to additional production capacity for future stack sales by Ballard around the globe, which mitigates the need for future capital spend on in-house capacity. In summary, our approach to localizing production is risk adjusted, capital light and IP protected."