Ballard sells some fuel cell patents to Volkswagen, shares spike

Wed Feb 11, 2015 12:06pm EST
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Feb 11 (Reuters) - Canadian fuel cell maker Ballard Power Systems Inc's shares soared 63 percent after it said Volkswagen AG would pay more than $80 million to buy some patents and extend a service contract.

Ballard said on Wednesday it would sell to the German carmaker the automotive-related portion of the fuel cell patents it had bought from United Technologies Corp last April.

The deal also extends by two years, through March 2019, Ballard's existing four-year contract for designing and manufacturing fuel cell stacks used in Volkswagen's demonstrations car program.

Volkswagen has the option to extend the contract, signed in 2013, by another two years.

"While timing of the vehicle commercialization is years away, this revenue stream is very high margin," Cowen and Co analysts wrote in a note.

Engineering services accounted for about 40 percent of Ballard's third-quarter sales.

The business is gaining importance over product development, in the near term, the analysts said.

Ballard said it would retain a royalty-free license for the patents it was selling to use in buses, non-automotive applications and some pre-commercial automotive uses.

The company provides backup power systems to telecom networks as well as for distributed power generation. It also provides fuel cell stacks for forklift trucks and buses.   Continued...