Ballard Power Systems Inc. (USA) (NASDAQ:BLDP) has announced a distribution agreement with a subsidiary of Toyota Motor Corp (ADR) (NYSE:TM) Toyota Tsusho Corporation (TTC). As part of the agreement, Ballard intends to send an expatriate sales person in Japan who will work with TTC to execute a joint sales plan.
Under the agreement, TTC will distribute Ballard’s fuel-cell products in Japan. Fuel-cell or hydrogen fuel is a source of clean energy. It is used in industrial and logistics settings to power material handling equipment such as forklifts and a range of vehicles. Fuel-cells are also used as backup power and for a continuous power supply.
Japan is in the process of spending $100 million on hydrogen fuel infrastructure in the coming five years. Building hydrogen fuel infrastructure in Japan comes after nearly 200 nations signed the Paris climate agreement that seeks to promote usage of sustainable energy sources such as solar, wind, fuel-cell and others.
Ballard Power Systems did not provide an estimate of the financial impact it expects from the distribution arrangement with TTC. But the company revealed that the deal will run until the end of 2020, though it is also not clear whether the companies will renew the agreement after 2020.
Ballard is hoping to tap into TTC’s massive business network in and out of Japan to increase the sales of its fuel-cell products. TTC is Toyota’s sole general trading subsidiary, with interest in diverse business areas. The subsidiary operates through seven divisions, which include Energy & Projects, Food & Agribusiness and Global Parts & Logistics.
Given TTC’s global network, Ballard has a chance to take advantage of the opportunity created by the Paris climate deal to sell its fuel-cell products to more global markets.
Ballard Power Systems generated revenue of $17.6 million in 2Q2016, indicating an increase of 58% YoY. The company’s bottom-line improved 21% YoY, though the company is still losing money as it posted an EPS loss of $0.04.