ElringKlinger + Plastic Omnium = EKPO

In early March 2021, ElringKlinger and Plastic Omnium declared their intention to give fresh impetus to the production of fuel cell stacks and components with their new join venture – EKPO Fuel Cell Technologies. According to company reports, the aim of EKPO, in which ElringKlinger holds a 60 percent ownership stake, is to manufacture fuel cell components at competitive prices “at first mainly for commercial vehicles and buses and then also for cars.” A production figure of up to 10,000 stacks a year is forecast. Company bosses explained that there is sufficient production capacity available to be able to realize a sales volume of between EUR 700 million and EUR 1 billion by the year 2030 which equates to a market share of 10 percent to 15 percent.

EKPO is led by three company directors: Armin Diez from ElringKlinger is chief technical officer, his colleague Gernot Stellberger is chief financial officer, while Julien Etienne from Plastic Omnium New Energies takes up the role of chief marketing officer. An important part of the joint venture deal, which was struck in October 2020, was the takeover of ElringKlinger Fuelcell Systems Austria by Plastic Omnium.

A bumpy ride

Weichai Truck - Ballard
© Ballard

The highs and lows of hydrogen and fuel cell stocks in recent weeks can be best described as a bumpy ride following a significant and rapid increase in prices. It seems to me that the market has entered a major consolidation phase. Yet this is no reason to lose faith, especially as the wild fluctuations that have been raging since early December 2020 – with some stocks climbing more than 50 percent inside a month – begged a correction. A process which is now in full swing. At the end of the day, it’s the future of the industry that counts and so here I stand by the old stock market maxim: The trend is your friend.

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FuelCell Energy – business valued too high

There has been a stark rise in the valuation of the business from around USD 100 million to now over USD 9 billion, with the stock price increasing from USD 1 – USD 2 to USD 29. I would go so far as to call it totally excessive. I got early wind of FuelCell Energy [Nasdaq: FCEL] as a turnaround after a management consultancy had “cleaned it up” and after the company had undergone a period of refinancing and restructuring and happily onboarded Orion Energy Partners as a key investor.

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