Fuel-Cell Maker’s New Chief Seeks China and Japan in Growth Plan

  • Intelligent Energy shifts strategy after avoiding insolvency
  • Martin Bloom says its time for technology company to focus

The new chief executive of British fuel-cell maker Intelligent Energy Holdings Plc is seeking to expand sales in Japan and China in a bid to boost revenue after the company almost went bankrupt earlier this year.

Martin Bloom, who replaced Henri Winand in June, also wants to move on from Intelligent’s previous “jack of all trades” strategy, which involved it touting the technology for a wide range of uses from mobile phones to drones and automobiles.

“My focus is what can we do in the next 12 to 18 months and where we can generate revenues,” Bloom said by phone on Monday. “We’re much more focused than we were and we’ve cut down the number of external programs that don’t seem to have commercial deployment in the short-term.”

The manufacturer lost most of its value in March after failing to raise funds for a deal to install its technology on more than 27,000 telecommunications towers in India. It subsequently announced a “material restructuring” including more 200 job cuts and a refocusing of its strategy to sharpen the focus on products that are ready for market.

Shareholders in June approved a 30 million-pound ($39 million) loan to Intelligent, a lifeline that was necessary to avoid bankruptcy and enabled its biggest shareholder, Meditor Group Ltd., to raise its stake to 72.2 percent.

“If you look over the last few weeks, there’s been some positive signs that investors see the value in the company,” he said. The company held an investor day on Sept. 21, and the new strategy was received “enthusiastically,” Bloom said.

Bloom says he has hired new employees who can expand sales in Japan and China, both of which are increasingly adopting fuel cells for stationary, mobile and diesel replacement to curb pollution. He expects full-year revenue of more than 90 million pounds ($117 million) for the year fiscal ending Sept. 30, up from 78 million pounds last year.

“In the past the company’s been technology-led, and I’m trying to work out where the technology fits in the energy ecosystem,” he said. “There are several areas that we’re very well situated.”

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