Fuel Cell Developer Plug Power Secures $6.5 Million Strategic Investment from Air Liquide

May 07, 2013 by Jeff Shepard

Plug Power Inc. today announced a $6.5 million (Euro 5 million) strategic investment from its partner Air Liquide, which includes a preferred stock purchase, increased ownership of the companies' HyPulsion joint venture and an engineering services contract. The investment is a significant endorsement of Plug Power's strategy to grow its business of hydrogen fuel cells for forklift trucks and other horizontal markets. The company has seen sales of its GenDrive fuel cells increase by 36 percent in 2012. The products have been successfully deployed at customers such as Walmart, Sysco, P&G, BMW and the recently announced Ace Hardware Corp. Including this investment, the company has raised $12 million so far in 2013.

"Air Liquide is a respected industry player, which is why this investment is a great validation of Plug Power's strategy," said Andy Marsh, Plug Power President and CEO. "The additional funds will be instrumental in providing the liquidity we need for growth. But the endorsement and board expertise we also get is just as important."

Air Liquide's investment in Plug Power includes a $2.6 million (Euro 2 million) investment in convertible preferred stock with a 60% percent conversion premium to market and an 8 percent coupon. As part of this stock purchase, an Air Liquide representative will join Plug Power's board. The parties have signed a Securities Purchase Agreement for the investment and the transaction is expected to close no later than May 22nd.

Air Liquide also purchased from Plug Power a 25 percent ownership interest in HyPulsion for $3.3 million (Euro 2.5 million). HyPulsion is a joint venture between Axane, an Air Liquide subsidiary, and Plug Power to market hydrogen fuel cells into European markets. After the investment, Plug Power owns 20 percent of HyPulsion, but has the right to purchase a majority interest in 2018. The companies have also signed a $659,000 (Euro 500,000) engineering service contract in order to accelerate the development of the European market for hydrogen forklift with the Europeanization of key components.