By Ron Bousso and Huw Jones
LONDON (Reuters) - HydrogenOne Capital Growth said on Monday it plans to list on the London Stock Exchange to raise 250 million pounds ($345.85 million) for investing in clean hydrogen, a fuel that is forecast to play a major role in the energy transition.
The company - launched by former Royal Dutch Shell executive JJ Traynor and Richard Hulf, who has worked at Exxon Mobil and been an energy fund manager at Artemis - had already won the backing of chemicals and energy group INEOS that has committed to buying shares worth 25 million pounds as a cornerstone investor.
Hydrogen has long-been touted as a potential clean fuel as it only emits water vapour, but it remains a niche market used primarily by oil refineries and other industries.
The International Energy Agency (IEA) said that consumption of hydrogen-based fuels needs to grow sharply by 2050 in order to meet U.N.-backed targets of reducing greenhouse gas emissions to net zero.
Graphic: Hydrogen consumption needs to grow for net-zero goals Hydrogen consumption needs to grow for net-zero goals - https://graphics.reuters.com/USA-CLIMATE/HYDROGEN-UTILITIES/azgpoqkeapd/chart.png
HydrogenOne said it intends to provide access to clean hydrogen through investment in a diversified portfolio of hydrogen and complementary hydrogen focussed assets, delivering capital growth with a strong environment, social and governance (ESG) focus.
The company said it expects to publish a prospectus shortly for the 100 pence per share offering on the LSE's premium segment, and to close the issue by end July.
"HydrogenOne is for energy investors who want to move beyond fossil fuels now, not later, and deploy substantial growth capital into the energy transition," Traynor said.
The company will invest primarily in projects developed by private companies, which are the main drivers of hydrogen technologies today, he told Reuters.
It will be the first UK-listed investment company to focus on hydrogen assets and exclude fossil fuel producers.
"We think we could deploy significantly more capital in the future" than the initial raising, Traynor added.
For INEOS, Europe's largest hydrogen producer, the investment offers access to projects in what is expected to be one of the fastest growing markets, Brian Gilvary, CEO of INEOS Energy Venture said.
"As the energy transition unfolds over the next decades, It gives us an opportunity to see how this market is developing," Gilvary told Reuters.
($1 = 0.7229 pounds)
(Reporting by Huw Jones; Editing by Kirsten Donovan)