Shares of Ballard Power (TSX:BLD) are up sharply today after announcing a (U.S.) $80-million intellectual property deal with Volkswagen.
Under the terms of the deal, Ballard will transfer the fuel cell intellectual property assets it had acquired from United Technologies for a payment of $50-million. There is also a two year extension that is worth between $30-million to $50-million. The company says the total value of the six year deal could be between $80-million to $112-million.
“This transaction extends and deepens our relationship with the Volkswagen Group, a leading global automotive manufacturer,” said Ballard CEO Randy MacEwen. “The IP transfer surfaces significant value for Ballard. And extension of the engineering services contract reflects a growing positive sentiment toward fuel cells within the automotive sector, along with the outstanding progress made to date in our work with Volkswagen Group on its fuel-cell car programs.”
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Ballad’s relationship with Volkswagen has some history. Two years ago, the Vancouver-based cleantech announced it had reached an agreement to develop fuel cells in demonstration vehicles. The second portion of the payment announced today relates to the engineering services agreement the pair signed then.
The 2013 agreement between Ballard and Volkwagen came after a five year non-compete that fooled many into thinking Ballard had exited the auto market entirely, in favour of developing fuel cells for forklifts, buses, and for telecom backup power. While interest in fuel cells for vehicles waned in the early 2000’s, the concept has made a comeback of late.
At press time, shares of Ballard Power of the TSX were up 54.9% to $3.30.