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Old 12-18-2004, 08:18   #1 (permalink)
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Canada:DCX, Ford to invest millions in Ballard

DCX, Ford to invest millions in Ballard

Stake could speed up fuel-cell progress

BY BILL KOENIG
BLOOMBERG

Ford Motor Co. and DaimlerChrysler AG plan to invest $44.6 million in fuel-cell maker Ballard Power Systems Inc. as the automakers restructure their alliance to speed development of the alternative-energy devices.

Ford will buy 2.03 million shares at $12.34 (Canadian) a share, for a total of $25 million (Canadian), while DaimlerChrysler will buy 2.43 million shares at the same price for $30 million (Canadian), Ballard said in a statement. Ballard, of Burnaby, British Columbia, is the biggest maker of fuel cells for vehicles.

Ballard reached an agreement July 8 with the automakers for the share purchase. If Ballard hadn't opted to exercise the investment by Dec. 31, the price would have been reset to market price. Ballard shares rose 53 cents, or 6.8 percent, to $8.35 (Canadian) on the Toronto stock exchange. Ballard said it expected to close the share sale early next month.

Ford, DaimlerChrysler and other automakers, under regulatory pressure to reduce pollution, are developing fuel cells as a potential replacement for gas-powered internal-combustion engines.

Fuel cells create electricity in a chemical reaction that combines hydrogen and oxygen, with water vapor as the by-product.

As part of the July agreement, Ford and DaimlerChrysler agreed to increase their investment in Ballard. In addition to the share purchase, DaimlerChrysler and Ford committed $58 million to Ballard for the development of a new line of fuel cells and electronic drives.

Both automakers have developed experimental cars that use Ballard fuel cells for power.
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