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Fuel Cell Pioneer Hires Banks For London IPO

(c) Sky News 2014

A manufacturer of fuel cells for electric cars that has become one of Britain's fastest-growing advanced technology companies is preparing to make its stock market debut.

Sky News understands that Intelligent Energy has appointed Barclays (LSE: BARC.L - news) and Canaccord Genuity (Other OTC: CCORF - news) to oversee an initial public offering (IPO) that is expected to take place in June.

News of the company's plans comes just months after it raised $51m from unidentified investors to fund its growth.

Intelligent Energy, a spin-out from Loughborough University, is seeking to raise the new funds to cement its status as a supplier of power technology and to provide a currency for future acquisitions.

The company's technology was originally developed to power electric cars, but has been adapted for other uses, including a recent tie-up that keeps Indian mobile phone networks working during power cuts.

In a statement issued to Sky News, a spokesman for Intelligent Energy said: "We are a private company and with an extensive shareholder base, ranging from institutional investors to private equity [and] venture capital investors, to private individuals.

"At some point it is reasonable for investors to expect a return on their investment.  An IPO is potentially one such route and the board continues to review its options."

A spin-out from Loughborough University, Intelligent Energy was founded by four academics in 1995. It has drawn up plans to expand into consumer electronics products and into other overseas markets.

At the time of its fundraising in October, Dr Henri Winand, Intelligent Energy's chief executive, said: "We have raised this finance at a time when we are making significant strides in our principal market sectors: motive, consumer electronics and stationary power.

"We have recently signed important agreements in two of these sectors, and in the third, motive, our joint venture with Suzuki has achieved an important milestone.

"The fundraising will strengthen our strategy of providing world-leading fuel-cell technology to our global partners."

A similar fundraising exercise in 2012 saw the company attract nearly £20m of new money, valuing it at approximately £300m, with an IPO expected to put a price-tag on the company significantly in excess of that.

The fundraising exercise comes amid a range of projects aimed at exploiting Intelligent Energy's technology amid a race to win contracts from the world's largest car manufacturers. It has a contract with Suzuki to develop hydrogen fuel cell engines for mass production.

Fuel cells that use the power generated when hydrogen is combined with oxygen are emerging as an alternative to conventional battery power for electric cars.

A report by the management consultancy McKinsey concluded that fuel cells were the "lowest-carbon solution for medium and larger cars", which it said account for half of all cars and 75% of CO2 emissions.

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