Canadian Manufacturing

Ballard announces reductions at Massachusetts subsidiary

The Canadian fuel cell producer is attempting to reduce the cost structure of Protonex by transferring certain assets into a start-up and absorbing others into its own brand


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Vancouver-based power supply manufacturer Ballard Power Systems Inc. announced divestitures at its American subsidiary, Protonex, on Jan. 3.

Ballard says the measures will yield cost savings of $1.4 million per year. The move comes after other reductions to Protonex were announced in August 2017.

Protonex, based in Southborough, Mass., specializes in portable power storage and management solutions for military and commercial use.

Ballard says it plans to incorporate the firm’s Unmanned Aerial Vehicle business, which specializes in fuel cells, battery chargers and power management systems for drones, into the parent Ballard brand.

Ballard has also divested assets from Protonex’s Solid Oxide Fuel Cells business and transferred these power products to a private start-up, Upstart Power Inc., for nominal consideration. A handful of Protonex employees have moved to Upstart—also located in Southborough, Mass.,—including Protonex’s former president. Ballard says it has no ownership interest in Upstart, but that the move will significantly reduce the cost structure of Protonex.

One area of Protonex that will not be affected by divestitures is the Power Manager program, which produces mobile power management devices and wearable batteries. Ballard says a significant commitment from the U.S. Army should result in growth in this segment in 2018.


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