Ballard Power Systems has released consolidated financial results for the first quarter ended 31st March, 2018.

Randy MacEwen, President and CEO, commented, “Q1 results were consistent with the type of start to 2018 we had anticipated and our typically slower first half of a year.”

“At the same time, the underlying growth in our Q1 results is masked by significant one-time revenue in the first quarter of 2017. Our outlook for the full year remains unchanged.”

MacEwen noted, “During the quarter we made important progress across key market applications to support long-term growth and profitability. Continued execution of our strategy, including focus on key market opportunities in China, Europe, the US and Japan resulted in revenue of $20.1m and gross margin of 33% for the quarter, along with a solid order book and robust sales pipeline for 2018 deliveries and 2019 scaling.”

MacEwen continued, “The convergence of key global megatrends – specifically decarbonisation, air quality and electrification of propulsion – has surfaced important opportunities for our highly-disruptive and field-proven technology in a growing array of transport applications. This is particularly the case where long range, rapid refuelling, heavy payload and full route flexibility are customer requirements, such as in key bus and commercial truck markets. In addition, during Q1 we saw strong evidence of expanding future demand for fuel cells in a range of applications, including buses, commercial trucks, material handling equipment, unmanned vehicles, trains and marine vessels, across a number of geographic regions.”

MacEwen concluded, “We expect these emerging opportunities to support continued scaling of the underlying business as we advance toward sustainable profitability.”

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Ballard’s Q1 2018 highlights

Bus

Subsequent to the quarter, the company received a purchase order from Van Hool NV for 40 FCveloCity®-HD modules to power buses, planned for deployment in Germany under the Joint Initiative for hydrogen Vehicles across Europe (JIVE) funding programme. Ballard expects to begin shipping modules in the second half of 2018, with initial bus deployments expected in 2019.

Commercial truck

Ballard announced the planned deployment of 500 licensed fuel cell electric commercial trucks, all using Ballard FCvelocity®-9SSL fuel cell stacks, in Shanghai, China during 2018. This is believed to be the largest planned deployment of fuel cell-powered trucks anywhere in the world.

The company signed a contract with CALSTART for a Ballard 30 kilowatt (kW) FCveloCity®-MD fuel cell module to be used in a trial and development programme involving UPS Class-6 delivery vans operating in California’s South Coast Air Basin.

A Kenworth Truck Company hybrid Class-8 drayage truck using a Ballard FCveloCity®-MD 85kW fuel cell module successfully completed initial road testing by pulling a shipping container through highway conditions in the Pacific Northwest. A demonstration programme is planned at the Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach.

Train

Siemens AG announced receipt of approximately €12m in funding to support development of a zero-emission fuel cell light rail train, called Mireo. Ballard previously signed a multi-year Development Agreement with Siemens for development of a 200kW fuel cell module to power the Mireo, with a contemplated value of $9m to Ballard.

Marine

Subsequent to the quarter, Ballard announced that two FCveloCity®-MD 30kW modules were successful integrated and tested in a hybrid marine application by a consortium including Yanmar Co. Ltd. as part of a programme to develop safety guidelines for hydrogen (H2) fuel cell-powered boats operating in Japan’s restricted coastal waters. The modules were previously provided to Yanmar by Toyota Tsusho Corporation under a Distribution Agreement with Ballard.

Material handling

Following the quarter, Ballard signed a multi-year Master Supply Agreement with Hyster-Yale Group encompassing the supply of minimum annual volumes of Ballard FCgen®-1020 air-cooled fuel cell stacks for use in powering Class-3 forklift trucks as well as support on the design of a fuel cell electric propulsion system to power these lift trucks.

Ballard signed a multi-year $4.2m Technology Solutions programme with an unnamed strategic customer to develop an ultra-high durability, high performance air-cooled fuel cell stack for use in a number of target market applications, including Class-3 forklift trucks as well as stationary continuous and backup power.

The company received a follow-on purchase order from Nisshinbo Holdings to progress a previously announced Technology Solutions programme, focused on development of Non-Precious Metal Catalyst-based fuel cell stacks for use in commercial material handling applications, to the next stage.

Unmanned vehicle

The company announced a collaboration programme with Cellula Robotics to demonstrate a fuel cell for long range autonomous underwater vehicles, funded by an award on behalf of Canada’s Department of National Defence.

Power manager

Following the late-2017 receipt of Milestone C in the programme of record, Ballard’s subsidiary Protonex received two purchase orders totalling $3.5m for the supply of Squad Power Manager (SPM-622) Special Operations Kits, including a $1.6m purchase order for end customer US Special Operations Command and a $1.9m purchase order to support US Army Security Force Assistance Brigades (SFAB). All deliveries are expected to be completed in 2018.

Backup power

Following the quarter, Toyota Tsusho Corporation announced the sale of five Ballard FCgen®-H2PM backup power systems, under its Distribution Agreement with Ballard, to be used as part of a renewable emergency power system installed under the Soma Revitalisation Smart Community Construction Project in Japan’s Fukushima Prefecture.

Other

Finally, Ballard received ISO14001:2015 certification at the company’s Vancouver operations through the establishment of an internal environmental management system that will support the company’s environmental objectives.