Chelsea Owner Hopes to Score with Hydrogen Fuel Cell Company
**AFC Energy Gets a Cash Injection from Ervington Investments**
Hydrogen fuel cell company AFC Energy (LON:AFC) has announced an equity investment of £8.7 million by Ervington Investments, whose owner is Russian business tycoon and Chelsea FC owner Roman Abramovich, The Times reported on 12 October 2012.
Through his significant investment, Abramovich is set to transform the fortunes of the small Surrey-based green energy firm. The funds raised would leave the company with gross cash of £11 million and deliver the balance sheet strength to continue its investment in low-cost fuel cell technology. Following the announcement of the deal, shares in AIM-listed AFC Energy jumped by as much as a quarter to close 4 pence higher at 33.5 pence.
**Abramovich Doesn’t Do Anything Passively**
Citing AFC chief executive Ian Williamson, The Times reported that Abramovich’s team contacted the green energy firm a few weeks ago and within a couple of hours the Russian billionaire arrived at AFC’s headquarters in Dunsfold. Abramovich’s team has indicated that they can see ways of applying the company’s hydrogen fuel cell technology.
!m[Roman Abramovich Invests Almost £9m in AFC Energy](/uploads/story/566/thumbs/pic1_inline.png) “He liked the technology, he was very engaged and it appeared that it was something he would be interested in investing in,” Williamson said. “It will not be a passive stake. I don’t think Mr Abramovich does anything passively” he added.
Indeed, Britain’s best known Russian oligarch has subscribed for 32.6 million new ordinary shares at 26.6 pence each — the closing offer price on 5 October, the date of the subscription offer. The shares represent 15 per cent of the enlarged issued share capital of AFC and would allow Abramovich to put two directors on the board to sit alongside AFC’s chairman Tim Yeo, the Conservative MP who also heads the Commons select committee on energy and climate change.
**“AFC Energy’s Technology Holds Great Potential”**
Abramovich’s spokesman John Mann said: “We had a look at the company and believe AFC Energy’s technology holds great potential for the future as a source of clean and efficient energy. This investment will help the company commercialise its technology and achieve its goal of becoming a leading hydrogen fuel cell energy supply company.”
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AFC Energy’s work is based on the alkaline fuel cell technology that powered NASA’s space missions in the 1960s and early 1970s. Last month, the company opened a pilot production plant in Surrey capable of producing up to 20,000 fuel cell electrodes a year. The £180,000 manufacturing investment is aimed at lifting AFC Energy above its current small-scale production capacity.
Williamson said he believes AFC Energy could revolutionise industrial plants and make them fuel self-sufficient. He argued that the technology, which relies on exploiting excess hydrogen created from chemical industries’ production, was cleaner and more efficient than gas-fired power stations and also capable of supplying continuous power, unlike other clean energy sources such as solar and wind power. He added that the investment by Ervington Investments would enable the company to take full advantage of its commercialisation plans.
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