Undeterred by one bad China deal, Ballard signs two agreements totalling $23m

Ballard (TSX:BLD)(NASDAW:BLDP) is pressing hard on the pedal as it racks up deals with Chinese firms looking to power vehicles through clean energy. 

Ballard CEO Randy MacEwen | Photo: Dominic Schaeffer  

Ballard (TSX:BLD)(NASDAQ:BLDP) is pressing hard on the pedal as it racks up deals with Chinese firms looking to power vehicles through clean energy.

Although Ballard cut ties with a partner in China late last year, the fuel cell-maker has signed three agreements totalling more than $30 million since June with Chinese companies.

The latest deal, announced Monday (September 28), will provide CRRC Qingdao Sifang with 10 FCvelocity fuel cell engines.

The prototype fuel cells were designed for urban trams that will run along a transit line in the City of Foshan beginning in 2017.

Foshan vice-mayor Xu Guo said in a statement the $6-million deal will help the city of 7.2 million people transition to clean mass transit technology.

And on Friday (September 25), Ballard announced it would provide Foshan and neighbouring city Yunfu with fuel cells to support about 300 buses hitting the roads next year.

The $17-million deal was made with existing Chinese partner Guangdong Synergy Hydrogen Power Technology.

Ballard will provide two different fuel cell modules — one delivering 30 kilowatts and another delivering 60 kilowatts of power — that will be ready for the market in 2016.

The fuel cells for the trams provide 200 kilowatts of power.

Ballard’s pursuit of the Chinese market hasn’t let up even after a deal with an existing partner that soured late last year and cost the company $7.5 million.

The B.C. company announced in early January it had cut ties with Beijing’s Azure Hydrogen after it said the Chinese firm breached its contract and stopped paying for products.

CEO Randy MacEwen, who arrived at Ballard last year after the Azure deal had already been signed, told investors the agreement turned out to be a “costly and embarrassing toast-up.”

But he said China would still remain in the picture for the company.

By June, Ballard signed a $10-million agreement with Guangdong Synergy and Nantong Zehe New Energy Technology, providing the two companies with fuel cells for 33 buses that would run in the cities of Yunfu and Rugao beginning next year.

torton@biv.com

@reporton