Haldor Topsoe A/S today announced its plan to close Topsoe Fuel Cell A/S, a subsidiary company within the Topsoe group focused on the development and commercialization of components and technology for high temperature solid oxide fuel cells (SOFC).
As part of the planned closure Haldor Topsoe will put all development of its SOFC technology on hold and focus on the development of selected applications in solid oxide electrolysis cell development (SOEC). Activities related to this specific area will be moved to Haldor Topsoe during the second half of 2014.
Haldor Topsoe expects that approximately 90 employees will be made redundant in Topsoe Fuel Cell as a consequence of the closure. The company currently employs 117 employees in total.
“We believe focusing on SOEC and merging the activities with the extensive competencies of the mother company is the right path forward with the prospect of commercializing concrete products within a relatively short time-frame. By narrowing our focus and integrating the know-how in the two companies we can leverage the technology and knowledge gained through decades of fuel cell research, however with a significant scale-down of the investment level needed,” says Bjerne S. Clausen, Chief Executive Officer of Haldor Topsoe.
“Over the years we have invested close to 1.5 billion DKK in commercializing our technology, but the route to market has proven far more challenging and time-consuming than anticipated. As the sole owner of Topsoe Fuel Cell, we can no longer justify the investments and risk needed to move the company forward. SOFC remains a challenging technology and significant additional investments are needed. In addition, future success is highly dependent on the evolution of regulation, energy costs and markets,” he continues.
Haldor Topsoe expects the closure of Topsoe Fuel Cell to lead to an asset impairment of up to DKK 200 million in the second half of the financial year 2014. The closure, however, will increase the free cash flow from 2015 onwards freeing capital for other investments.
Following the announcement today, mandatory negotiations around the planned redundancies will begin between management and employee representatives in Topsoe Fuel Cell.