Ballard Power quietly sharpens its edge

JCB excavator powered by a Ballard fuel cell, © JCB Group
© JCB Group

Ballard [Nasdaq: BLDP] is quietly moving forward with forging new alliances around the world. Or, more specifically, the company is building prototypes that are sure to lead to joint ventures and partnerships to commercialize stacks and modules and components for parts suppliers. I previously covered Ballard’s business relationship with Mahle. Now, Ballard has teamed up with compressor manufacturer Chart Industries, as well as Linamar, a Canadian automotive supplier with sales of USD 7.5 billion and over 26,000 employees. The aim of Ballard’s partnership with Linamar is to develop fuel cell powertrains for light commercial vehicles weighing up to 5 tons and for SUVs, and maybe other kinds of passenger cars in the future. Ballard might even consider forming a joint venture with a company such as Honeywell, to which the fuel cell maker sold its former subsidiary Protonex’ fuel cell drone program – but not before indicating plans for some type of future collaboration.

As for rolling stock, Ballard has partnered with Siemens, Germany, CRRC, China, and Canadian Pacific Railway, the owner of 1,400 locomotives. Regarding boats and ships, it is working with German ABB on new fuel cell systems. One venture to keep on the radar is Ballard-Weichai’s in China for the joint production of commercial vehicle stacks and modules. That deal could be a sign Ballard will eventually also join forces with Weichai subsidiary Kion to produce fuel cells for forklift trucks. In any case, all these partnerships lay a solid foundation for future orders, revenues and earnings.

“The development of the first hydrogen-fueled excavator is very exciting as we strive towards a zero-carbon world. In the coming months, JCB will continue to develop and refine this technology with advanced testing of our prototype machine, and we will continue to be at the forefront of technologies designed to build a zero-carbon future.”

Lord Bamford, JCB chairman

It’s why I think Ballard’s current quarterly, or yearly, figures aren’t as important or relevant as they might seem. Of course, there are those who beg to differ. They base their arguments on Ballard’s financial results for the first quarter, when total revenue fell to USD 17.6 million, less than the USD 26.5 million analysts expected, and the net loss per share came to USD 0.06 instead of USD 0.05.

… Read more in the latest H2-International e-Journal, May 2021

Risk warning

Share trading can result in a total loss of your investment. Consider spreading the risk as a sensible precaution. The fuel cell companies mentioned in this article are small- and mid-cap businesses, which means their stocks may experience high volatility. The information in this article is based on publicly available sources, and the views and opinions expressed herein are those of the author only. They are not to be taken as a suggestion of what stocks to buy or sell and come without any explicit or implicit guarantee or warranty. The author focuses on mid-term and long-term prospects, not short-term gains, and may own shares in the company or the companies being analyzed.

Author: Sven Jösting, written June 1st, 2021

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