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POSCO Energy board OKs sale of stake in U.S. fuel cell firm

Industry 17:16 November 15, 2018

SEOUL, Nov. 15 (Yonhap) -- POSCO Energy, a private electricity provider, said Thursday its board recently agreed to sell its stake in U.S.-based FuelCell Energy Inc. due to lack of progress in their decadelong business ties.

"In the nominal partnership, POSCO Energy expected a transfer of core technologies from FuelCell Energy but it has not taken place. So the company has recently decided to sell its 2.9 percent stake worth US$12.3 million in the U.S. company," a spokesman said over the phone.

In the partnership, FuelCell Energy expected to receive license fees for technologies transferred to POSCO Energy and to jointly seek business opportunities in fuel cell business markets, he said.

POSCO Energy built a 500 billion-won fuel cell plant in Pohang, 370 kilometers southeast of Seoul, in 2008 as part of the partnership but the company has suffered losses worth 1 trillion won in the past 10 years, the company said in a statement.

The company signed fuel cell service contracts at discounted prices and most of the deals were long-term ones that last for five years, causing the losses. Growing costs involving repair services for defective fuel cell products were another blow, the spokesman said.

POSCO Energy's fuel cell products are used in power plants.

The two companies originally planned to set up a joint venture to cooperate in the fuel cell business, but the move has been fully suspended, the company said.

The POSCO unit, which also operates solar and wind power plants, sells electricity to the state-run Korea Electric Power Corp.

This file photo shows a fuel cell-powered plant operated by Gyeonggi Green Energy in Hwaseong, just south of Seoul. (Yonhap)

kyongae.choi@yna.co.kr
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