August 6, 2009 / 9:49 PM / in 8 years

Ballard Power cuts 85 jobs as it seeks profit

* Aims to cut annual expenses by C$10 million

* Trims R&D programs, administrative support

* Will take a C$4 mln charge in third quarter

CALGARY, Alberta, Aug 6 (Reuters) - Fuel-cell developer Ballard Power Systems BLD.TO said on Thursday it will cut 20 percent of its staff, or 85 jobs, to cut expenses by C$10 million ($9.3 million) a year as it looks to become profitable.

The said the layoffs will be at its locations in Burnaby, British Columbia, and Lowell, Massachusetts, and will narrow its research and development programs and cut administrative support within the company.

Ballard will take a C$4 million charge in the third quarter to account for severance and restructuring costs.

The cuts come as Ballard looks to become profitable, a goal that Chief Executive John Sheridan said earlier this year would not come in 2009.

“This move to a leaner, lower-cost organizational structure is a key step in Ballard’s drive to profitability,” Sheridan said in a statement.

The cuts are the second set this year for the company, which makes fuel cell power products for industrial, cogeneration and transportation markets.

In April, the company said it would cut 39 jobs in its finance, human resources, and information technology departments.

Ballard shares rose 6 Canadian cents to C$2.00 on the Toronto Stock Exchange. The shares have dropped 54 percent over the past 12 months.

$1=$1.08 Canadian Reporting by Scott Haggett; editing by Rob Wilson

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