B.C. fuel-cell pioneer Ballard Power loses $15.5M US in Q3

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Canada's gift to the hydrogen fuel-cell business, Ballard Power Systems, saw its revenue shrink 30 per cent in the third quarter as it continued to lose money, and it gave up hope of meeting its full-year revenue target

Although it shipped 471 fuel-cell products in the quarter, 52 per cent more than a year ago, it was hurt by a drop in contract engineering work on automotive fuel cells and lower than expected sales of automotive carbon-fibre materials, it said.

Investors did not seem worried. Ballard’s share price closed Monday at $3.15, down two cents, on the Toronto Stock Exchange.

The Vancouver-area company, which reports in U.S. dollars, said revenue for the third quarter was $12.3 million and the loss was $15.5 million or 19 cents a share. That compares with revenue of $17.6 million a year earlier, when the loss was $16 million or 14 cents on a larger number of shares.

Although mass-produced hydrogen cars remain a dream, Ballard has made progress in such areas as hydrogen buses, backup power plants and residential cogeneration systems, notably in Japan.

The company — whose founder, Geoffrey Ballard, died in August — offered these thoughts on its prospects for the full year:

  • Overall revenues for 2008 are now expected to be between $58 million and $64 million, down from the previous revenue guidance of $65 million to $75 million.
  • Total product shipments for 2008 are expected to exceed 1,700 units, in line with previous guidance but with a different mix than originally expected.
  • Operating cash consumption for 2008 is now expected to be in the upper half of the guidance range of $20 million to $30 million.
  • With cash reserves of $57.1 million on Sept. 30 and another $41 million Cdn expected from a financing deal announced Oct. 30, the company does not expect to need public market financing in the foreseeable future.

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