Ballard Announces Five-Year Restructuring Plan

December 08, 2002 by Jeff Shepard

Ballard Power Systems Inc. (Vancouver, Canada) announced a five-year plan that provides for a significant reduction in cash consumption, an organizational restructuring, a reduction of 400 employees, development funding for its next-generation fuel cell engine and the further commitment of its automotive alliance partners. As part of Ballard’s plan to develop the next-generation fuel cell engine, it has obtained preliminary agreement from DaimlerChrysler Corp. (Auburn Hills, MI) and Ford Motor Co. (Dearborn, MI) to provide combined funding of $97.0 million, over the next five years.

To support Ballard’s commitment to sustainability, DaimlerChrysler and Ford have also agreed in principle to eliminate the existing requirement to link their follow-on equity investment of CDN$55.0 million (US$35 million) to a larger public equity offering, and to provide that funding on request from Ballard at any time after December 31, 2003. As part of the reorganization, Ballard will combine its Transportation, Power Generation, and Electric Drives and Power Conversion divisions into a single organization. Ballard’s Material Products Division will continue to operate as a stand-alone division.

Ballard will decrease its workforce by approximately 250 employees, through normal attrition, transfers and layoffs. The transfers will be accomplished through the intended redeployment of approximately 100 employees from Ballard’s Nabern, Germany, operations to DaimlerChrysler to support its strong commitment to fuel cell and alternative powertrain development. Ballard intends to effect the transfers over the next three to nine months. The remaining reductions will affect all functional areas of Ballard’s global operations except the Material Products Division. Over the next 12 months, Ballard intends to reduce employment by an additional 150 positions. The combined headcount reductions will decrease Ballard’s employee base worldwide by about 400 employees to 1,000 employees, or approximately 28 percent.