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Power Tech Pioneer Plots Fundraising

(c) Sky News 2013

One of Britain's fastest-growing advanced technology companies has hired bankers to prepare a cash call that will value the loss-making business at more than £300m.

I understand that Intelligent Energy has appointed Bank of America Merrill Lynch (BAML) to drum up interest from potential investors in the fuel cell pioneer.

Intelligent Energy, which is based in Loughborough, wants to use the new capital partly to cement its status as an emerging supplier of fuel cells for electric cars.

BAML will work alongside Rothschild, Intelligent Energy's existing financial adviser, on the fundraising plan.

Intelligent Energy, which was established by four Loughborough University academics in 1995, wants to raise the money to accelerate its expansion into consumer electronics products and overseas markets including India.

A similar fundraising exercise last year saw the company attract nearly £20m of new money, valuing it at approximately £300m.

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.

The company is a beneficiary of growing incentives from governments to develop more sustainable technologies, although it has yet to make an annual profit.

Fuel cells 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 per cent of CO2 emissions.

Last year, Intelligent Energy appointed Paul Heiden, a former finance director of Rolls-Royce, as its new chairman, and Rothschild, the advisory firm, as its financial advisor.

Intelligent Energy declined to comment on the fundraising plan or on the identities of its existing shareholders.