Ballard Power Systems has entered into a strategic collaboration with Weichai Power Co.

Announced at a public event in Jinan, Shandong Province, China, the collaboration includes a substantial equity investment by Weichai in Ballard of approximately $163m, representing a 19.9% interest in the company and reflecting a price based on a 15% premium to the 30-day VWAP.

It also includes the establishment of a joint venture (JV) to support China’s burgeoning Fuel Cell Electric Vehicle (FCEV) market and a $90m technology transfer program to the JV related to Ballard’s next-generation LCS fuel cell stack and power modules for bus, commercial truck and forklift applications in China.

Weichai has also committed to build and supply at least 2,000 fuel cell modules for commercial vehicles in China, as announced by the Chinese company today.

In addition, Zhongshan Broad-Ocean Motor Co – a current Ballard strategic investor and Chinese partner - has agreed to invest a further approximately $20m at the same 15% premium to maintain its 9.9% ownership position in Ballard. As a result, the Weichai and Broad-Ocean equity investments in Ballard will total approximately $183m.

All the foregoing transactions are expected to close in Q4 2018, subject to completion of definitive agreements, regulatory approvals and other customary closing conditions.

Established in 2002 and with listings on the Hong Kong and Shenzhen stock exchanges, Weichai Power Co is a leading automotive and equipment manufacturer specialising in the production of powertrains, automobiles, intelligent logistics, automotive parts and components.

In 2017 Weichai manufactured more than 617,000 engines, 149,000 heavy duty trucks and 200,000 forklift trucks, and generated total revenue of 151.57 billion RMB (approximately $22.7B), with an employee base of 74,474 people.

Randy MacEwen, Ballard President and CEO, said, “Today marks an exciting and historic milestone on our roadmap to commercialise fuel cell vehicles, as we embark on a long-term collaboration with Weichai.”

“Ballard is thrilled to partner with Weichai, the world’s largest manufacturer of diesel engines, with a corporate strategy to be China’s leader in zero-emission fuel cell powertrains and FCEVs.”

“Weichai brings considerable expertise in the traditional motive power business, including engine design, application engineering and powertrain integration, along with extensive customer relationships, deep knowledge of the China market, substantial operations scale, supply chain muscle and a solid balance sheet.”

“Weichai together with its parent company is also well positioned with its portfolio of acquisitions and investments in leading bus, truck and material handling OEMs. In addition,

Broad-Ocean’s anticipated participation in this strategic collaboration, including its incremental investment in Ballard, is further validation of the exciting China market opportunities.”

MacEwen continued, “As strategic partners and shareholders, Weichai and Broad-Ocean are strongly aligned with the interests of Ballard’s shareholders. The new JV will offer a compelling framework through which our next-generation LCS fuel cell stack and power modules will be successfully integrated into buses, commercial trucks and forklifts for the China market.”

“Weichai’s announced plan to deploy a minimum of 2,000 fuel cell commercial vehicles in China by 2021 is the largest commitment of commercial FCEVs to date globally.”

“We believe this strategic collaboration will create an unparalleled ability to effectively address the Heavy and Medium Duty Motive markets in China with the most technologically advanced and competitively positioned fuel cell products, as we drive down costs and approach commercial scaling.”

Tan Xuguang, Chairman and CEO of Weichai stated, “The transition in China to zero-emission vehicles is underway, and we expect fuel cells to play an important role in a variety of motive applications.”

“Weichai, through our joint venture with Ballard, intends to be the leader in development of the Fuel Cell Electric Vehicle supply chain, by offering the most advanced fuel cell stacks and modules. Ballard is the global leader in PEM fuel cell technology and power products, and we envision a strong collaboration with formidable capabilities to address the large market in China for zero-emission buses, commercial trucks and material handling equipment.”

Charles Lu, Chairman of Broad-Ocean added, “Weichai’s visionary entry into the fuel cell industry and significant investment in Ballard are strong indicators of the future market potential. We are thrilled to deepen our strategic collaboration with Ballard and Weichai. We also plan to be a strategic customer of the joint venture.”

Ballard is in ongoing discussions with existing partners in China to ensure continued support for products using current generation technology, and to facilitate a smooth future transition to products based on next-generation technology.