POSCO Energy, Korea's largest hydrogen fuel cell operator for power generation, has sold a large portion of its stake in Fuelcell Energy in the U.S., which has been a strategic business partner for 12 years.
The energy industry believes POSCO Energy may sell its remaining stake in Fuelcell or seek a new business partner, the Chosun Biz reported on March 19.
According to an industry source on March 19, POSCO Energy sold 1.8 million shares of its Fuelcell stocks in November last year and January this year to improve the fuel cell business structure. Currently, its remaining shares are 750,000.
POSCO Energy's stake in Fuelcell fell from 2.9 percent to less than 1 percent. Late last year, the board of directors of POSCO Energy approved a proposal to sell its stake in Fuelcell when the management wants.
The relationship between POSCO Energy and Fuelcell began in 2007. POSCO Energy invested $29 million (33 billion won) in Fuelcell at that time and entered the fuel cell business along with acquiring shares. It has secured exclusive rights to supply MCFC technology from Fuelcell, which has source technology for hydrogen fuel cells, to Asia.
POSCO Energy holds about 57 percent of the domestic fuel cell market. However, it has been losing money every year. Its deficit in the fuel cell business, which was 44.7 billion won in 2014, increased to 64.5 billion won in 2017. Some of the fuel cell products that were supplied by Fuelcell have been reportedly found to be defective, and thus the deficit has increased. Cumulative losses amount to 1 trillion won, including the construction of production facilities in Pohang.
"The negotiations with Fuelcell are proceeding with all possibilities," said a POSCO Energy official.