LATHAM, N.Y., Nov. 9, 2011 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Plug Power Inc. (Nasdaq:PLUG), a leader in providing clean, reliable energy products, today announces its intent to join forces with Axane, an Air Liquide subsidiary, to create a joint venture in order to meet growing demand for GenDrive® fuel cell products across the European material handling market.
By combining the technical innovation of the Plug Power GenDrive fuel cell products with the significant European market presence of Air Liquide, the anticipated joint venture would provide customers with a more efficient and environmentally friendly alternative to battery-powered electric lift trucks. The joint venture would also enable Plug Power to leverage its success with its current base of North America customers with global brands and to further extend these relationships in the European market. Plug Power and Air Liquide are currently working in conjunction on GenDrive system and hydrogen infrastructure deployments at Walmart (Alberta, Canada) and Coca-Cola (San Leandro, CA).
"As a leading global provider of hydrogen, Air Liquide is the ideal partner to help spearhead our expansion into the burgeoning European market," said Andy Marsh, CEO at Plug Power Inc. "We look forward to working hand-in-hand with Air Liquide to bring the economic and environmental benefits of GenDrive fuel cell products to the European material handling industry. GenDrive continues to be the leading choice for clean energy-powered lift trucks, delivering increased productivity and lower operational costs with zero greenhouse gas emissions."
Under the proposed joint venture, Plug Power will contribute a license to certain intellectual property rights for the initial European project territory and Axane will provide installments of cash over a period of five years. Ownership in the joint venture will be shared so that Plug Power's initial shareholding in the joint venture will be 45 percent, and Axane's initial shareholding in the joint venture will be 55 percent. Plug Power will have the opportunity to leverage its ownership stake to acquire a majority stake in 2016.
The Plug Power GenDrive products would address the European material handling market consisting of 325,000 annual forklift truck sales and an existing installed base of 2,000,000 forklift trucks. Initially, the GenDrive units would be manufactured at Plug Power's Latham, NY headquarters and distributed through the sales and service channel provided by Axane, with the potential for European-based manufacturing at a later date.
Plug Power is the leading hydrogen fuel cell supplier for material handling operations in North America, holding 85 percent market share. GenDrive fuel cell products have accumulated more than 5M operating hours at customer sites. With its existing relationships with leading global brands Air Liquide would bring a number of governmental funding relationships to the joint venture. For instance, the French agency for innovation support, called OSEO, supports the Horizon Hydrogen Energy (H2E) innovation program, coordinated by the Air Liquide Group. H2E aims at building sustainable and competitive hydrogen energy solutions.
François Darchis, Senior Vice-President, Air Liquide Group, and a member of the Executive Committee commented, "This partnership will allow us to contribute throughout Europe to the deployment of non-polluting hydrogen fleets. The forklift market prefigures the future development of the hydrogen-powered automobile market. Energy and the environment are growth drivers for the Air Liquide Group."
About Plug Power Inc.
The architects of modern fuel cell technology, Plug Power revolutionized the industry with cost-effective power solutions that increase productivity, lower operating costs and reduce carbon footprints. Long-standing relationships with industry leaders forged the path for Plug Power's key accounts, including Wegmans, Whole Foods, and FedEx Freight. With more than 1,500 GenDrive units shipped to material handling customers, accumulating over 5 million hours of runtime, Plug Power manufactures tomorrow's incumbent power solutions today. Additional information about Plug Power is available at www.plugpower.com.
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About Air Liquide
Air Liquide is the world leader in gases for industry, health and the environment, and is present in 80 countries with 43,600 employees. Oxygen, nitrogen, hydrogen and rare gases have been at the core of Air Liquide's activities since its creation in 1902. In 2010, the Group's revenues amounted to €13.5 billion, of which more than 80% were generated outside France. Air Liquide is listed on the Paris Euronext stock exchange (compartment A) and is a member of the CAC 40 and Dow Jones Euro Stoxx 50 indexes. Additional information about Air Liquide is available at www.airliquide.com
In 2001, Air Liquide created Axane, a subsidiary dedicated to developing fuel cells. Axane designs, manufactures and commercializes these fuel cells.
Plug Power Inc. Safe Harbor Statement
This communication contains forward-looking statements within the meaning of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. These statements are based on current expectations that are subject to certain assumptions, risks and uncertainties, any of which are difficult to predict, are beyond Plug Power's control and that may cause Plug Power's actual results to differ materially from the expectations in Plug Power's forward-looking statements including statements regarding the risk that the joint venture may or may not form or that the terms of the joint venture may ultimately differ from the terms disclosed in this release; that unit orders will not ship, be installed and/or convert to revenue, in whole or in part; the cost and timing of developing Plug Power's products and its ability to raise the necessary capital to fund such development costs; the risk that the previously disclosed expected uses of the Company's recently raised capital may change; the ability to achieve the forecasted gross margin on the sale of Plug Power's products; the actual net cash used for operating expenses may exceed the projected net cash for operating expenses; the cost and availability of fuel and fueling infrastructures for Plug Power's products; market acceptance of Plug Power's GenDrive system; Plug Power's ability to establish and maintain relationships with third parties with respect to product development, manufacturing, distribution and servicing and the supply of key product components; the cost and availability of components and parts for Plug Power's products; Plug Power's ability to develop commercially viable products; Plug Power's ability to reduce product and manufacturing costs; Plug Power's ability to successfully expand its product lines; Plug Power's ability to improve system reliability for GenDrive; competitive factors, such as price competition and competition from other traditional and alternative energy companies; Plug Power's ability to manufacture products on a large-scale commercial basis; Plug Power's ability to protect its intellectual property; the cost of complying with current and future governmental regulations; and other risks and uncertainties discussed under "Item IA-Risk Factors" in (i) Plug Power's annual report on Form 10-K for the fiscal year ended December 31, 2010, filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission ("SEC") on March 31, 2011 and (ii) in Plug Power's quarterly report on Form 10-Q for the quarter ended March 31, 2011 filed with the SEC on May 13, 2011, as well as in the other reports Plug Power files from time to time with the SEC. Plug Power does not intend to, and undertakes no duty to update any forward-looking statements as a result of new information or future events.
CONTACT: Media Contact: Reid Hislop Plug Power Inc. Phone: (518) 782-7700 ext. 1360 Investor Relations Contact: Cathy Yudzevich Plug Power Inc. Phone: (518) 782-7700 ext. 1448