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Air Liquide’s Plug Power Stake Value 26 Times Higher

Air Liquide SA is poised to become the largest shareholder in fuel-cell system maker Plug Power Inc., with a stake valued at 26 times more than the French company paid for it last year.

Air Liquide, the second-largest industrial gas producer, agreed to a $6.5 million investment in the Latham, New York-based company in May. That investment included $2.6 million for preferred stock which, according to a regulatory filing today, can be converted into almost 11 million common shares on May 8.

Plug closed at 24 cents in New York on the day Air Liquide bought the 10,431 preferred shares. The stock closed today at $6.21, giving Air Liquide’s converted shares a value of $68.1 million. If all the preferred stock is converted, Air Liquide would have a 9.4 percent stake in the company.

Plug, which sells systems that power forklifts, has climbed after Wal-Mart Stores Inc. agreed this month to buy more than 1,700 systems and the company said it expects orders to rise more than fourfold as it approaches profitability.

Spokesmen for Plug and Paris-based Air Liquide didn’t immediately respond to phone messages seeking comment.

Capital Ventures International is currently Plug’s largest shareholder, with 10 million shares as of Jan. 10, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

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