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The Independent: Intelligent Energy plans flotation to develop fuel cells

The Independent: Intelligent Energy plans flotation to develop fuel cells

By Michael Harrison, Business Editor

11 May 2004

An energy company specialising in fuel cell technology, which includes the former Social Democrat leader Lord Owen and the Russian oil company Yukos among its shareholders, is to float on the London stock market with an expected price tag of about £120m.

Intelligent Energy, which was founded three years ago and already boasts a blue-chip client list including Boeing and one of the world’s top five car manufacturers, is aiming to raise between £40m and £60m when it lists on the Alternative Investment Market next month.

Lord Owen, the Foreign Secretary under Labour between 1977 and 1979, is one of four non-executive directors of Intelligent Energy who between them own about 5 per cent of the company. Its chairman is Sir John Jennings, a former group managing director of Royal Dutch/ Shell and chairman of the oil major’s UK arm, Shell Transport and Trading.

Harry Bradbury, Intelligent Energy’s chief executive who founded the company in 2001 after branching out from management consultancy, is the biggest individual shareholder with a stake of nearly 20 per cent. Yukos owns 26 per cent.

Intelligent Energy is one of a growing number of companies developing fuel cell technology – batteries which run on hydrogen and can power anything from cars to mini-generators.

The company aims to tap into the growing requirement for low-emission cars which do not pollute the environment and highly portable generating units to provide electricity in developing countries where the cost of full-scale power stations would be prohibitive.

The company said it was engaged in discussions with 70 potential partners, a third of whom were negotiating specific programmes with it. Of these, Intelligent Energy said a “significant proportion” could lead to agreements being signed.

Intelligent Energy has already developed, in partnership with Boeing, a light aircraft powered by a fuel cell and is now working on fuel cells that would provide ancilliary power for commercial airliners.

The company is also working with the South African chemicals group Sasol and the country’s main electricity provider Eskom to bring power to remote areas. It is also working with Japan Steelworks on storing and dispensing energy.

Mr Bradbury said Intelligent Energy’s aim was to license its know-how to industrial partners, rather than manufacture and sell fuel cells itself.

JP Morgan is acting as adviser on the flotation, which will see between a third and a half of the company offered to outside investors. The bank is also acting as joint broker with Evolution Beeson Gregory.

Intelligent Energy is seeking a finance director, the previous occupant of the post having been poached by the Lord Chancellor’s office. But the replacement is unlikely to be on board in time for the AIM listing.

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