Weichai Power's strategic equity investment in Ceres Power receives final Chinese approval

Ceres Power (AIM: CWR, "Ceres Power", "Ceres"), developer of the SteelCell®, a world-leading, low cost Solid Oxide Fuel Cell (SOFC) technology, is pleased to announce that Weichai Power ("Weichai") has received relevant approvals from the People's Republic of China (PRC) for its proposed equity investment in Ceres announced on 16 May 2018

 

  • Further to the announcement made by Ceres on 16 May 2018, relevant competent authorities in the PRC have approved the proposed equity investment by Weichai in the Company 
  • The approval covers the initial investment of c.£17m to take a 10% stake in the Company and is priced at 15.08p / share, an 18% premium to the date of the initial announcement
  • Approval also covers the additional potential equity investment of c£23.2m which is conditional on the signing of further commercial agreements before 30 November 2018
  • Approval marks a significant milestone before the formal start of the relationship with Weichai, one of the leading automobile and equipment manufacturing companies in China
  • The parties will initially work on jointly developing and launching a fuel cell range extender system for China's fast growing electric powered bus market

 

The Company will now seek shareholder approval for authorities to issue the Ordinary Shares arising from these investments, and will shortly send out a Notice to a General Meeting.

 

As announced, the second potential equity investment of c.£23.2m will be by way of warrant at an exercise price of 16.45p/share, a 29% premium on the market value at the time of the initial announcement. This warrant will allow Weichai to hold in aggregate a 20% equity holding in Ceres Power and will be automatically exercised on the signing of the further commercial agreements expected later in 2018, subject to certain conditions.

 

Alongside the investment, Ceres and Weichai intend to enter a broader strategic collaboration to jointly develop and launch a SOFC fuel cell range extender system for China's fast growing electric powered bus market. Weichai has a wide network of customers in China with sales volumes of c.30,000 buses peryear. The strategic collaboration is currently expected to begin with an initial Fuel Cell System technology transfer to Weichai in 2018 for the development and demonstration of CNG fueled SteelCell® SOFC hybrid electric buses in China by 2019. The parties then expect to progress to further trials of multiple buses and SteelCell® SOFC stack supply by 2020. 

Weichai is listed in Hong Kong and Shenzhen with a market capitalization of c. US$10bn, and has a strong track record of making strategic investments in businesses around the world, including Société Internationale des Moteurs Baudouin in France, Power Solutions International lnc. in the U.S. and KION Group AG (MDAX-listed) in Germany.

The low-emission public transport market in China represents a major commercial opportunity for Ceres's technology. This is being driven by the Chinese Government, which is stimulating this sector through subsidies and Zero-Emission Zones designed to reduce air pollution and carbon emissions, while increasing public health and lower operating costs. In addition to these benefits and increasing the operational range of electric buses, the Ceres Power range extender has the advantage of being able to run on widely available fuels such as CNG and does not rely on the roll out of hydrogen infrastructure.

 

Phil Caldwell, CEO said:

"We are delighted to receive PRC approval for Weichai's investment in Ceres. The strategic partnership with Weichai, with its huge scale, leading market position and manufacturing expertise, has the potential to bring considerable benefits to Ceres and accelerates the commercial adoption of our technology. Although focused on delivering fuel cell range extenders in electric buses initially, this partnership provides us with invaluable access to the Chinese market as a whole. This funding will provide important growth capital for Ceres as we scale up the business. We look forward to working alongside Weichai and our other existing partners in developing our world-leading technology and extending its commercial applications across a number of markets and geographies." 

 

For further information please contact:

 

Ceres Power Holdings plc

Phil Caldwell, CEO

Dan Caesar, Communications & Marketing Director

 

+44 (0)1403 273 463

Zeus Capital - Nominated Adviser and Joint Broker

Giles Balleny / Andrew Jones

 

+44 (0)20 3829 5000

 

Berenberg - Joint Broker

Ben Wright / Mark Whitmore / Laure Fine

 

+44 (0)20 3207 7800

Powerscourt

Peter Ogden/Andy Jones/Niall Walsh

 

+44 (0) 20 7250 1446

The information contained within this announcement is deemed by the Company to constitute inside information stipulated under the Market Abuse Regulation (EU) No. 596/2014. Upon the publication of this announcement via the Regulatory Information Service, this inside information is now considered to be in the public domain.

 

About Ceres Power

 

Ceres Power (http://www.cerespower.com/) is a world leader in low cost, next generation fuel cell technology for use in distributed power products that reduce operating costs, lower CO2, SOx and NOx emissions, increase efficiency and improve energy security. The Ceres Power unique patented SteelCell® technology generates power from widely available fuels at high efficiency and is manufactured using standard processing equipment and conventional materials such as steel, meaning that it can be mass produced at an affordable price for domestic and business use. Ceres Power offers its partners the opportunity to develop power systems and products using its unique technology and know-how, combined with the opportunity to supply the SteelCell® in volume through manufacturing partners.

 

About Weichai

 

Weichai is a Chinese state-owned enterprise listed on the Main Board of both the Hong Kong Stock Exchange and Shenzhen Stock Exchange with a market cap of over USD$10 billion. With over 74,000 employees and sales of more than 150 billion yuan in 2017, Weichai is one of the most competitive automobile and equipment manufacturing companies in China, producing more than 600,000 engines, 830,000 transmissions, 150,000 heavy duty trucks and 200,000 forklift trucks in 2017. Over 43% of its revenue comes from overseas market.