French firm invests in Plug Power
LATHAM Plug Power has received a $6.5 million investment from a French maker of industrial gases that company officials hope will provide the liquidity it has long needed for growth.
The Latham-based fuel cell maker announced Wednesday that Air Liquide had invested enough money to get stock, a seat on the Plug Power board and more stake in a joint venture. In addition, the investment will help Plug Power develop its fuel cell technology for the European market.
“Air Liquide is a respected industry player, which is why this investment is a great validation of Plug Power’s strategy,” said company president and CEO Andy March in a news release. “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.”
With this investment, Plug Power has now raised $12 million so far this year — almost enough to stay afloat during a year in which the company has faced near-delisting from the NASDAQ, changes in leadership, layoffs, angry shareholders and the sale of its Latham headquarters.
Air Liquide invested $2.6 million in convertible preferred stock, with a 60 percent conversion premium. This purchase means the French manufacturer gets one seat on Plug Power’s board of directors. The transaction is expected to close no later than May 22.
Air Liquide also invested $3.3 million in a 25 percent ownership interest in HyPulsion, a joint venture between Air Liquide subsidiary Axane and Plug Power.
The companies also signed a $659,000 engineering service contract to accelerate the development of hydrogen forklift technology for the European market.