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Ceramic Fuel Cells takes hit on investment

Micro-Combined Heat and Power (micro-CHP) developer Ceramic Fuel Cells has insisted its long term development plans have not been significantly damaged by one of its multi-million pound investments being hit by the global market downturn.

It has also ruled out selling off its ceramic powder plant in the north west of England despite launching a wide ranging review of its financial strategy.

The fuel cell specialist has been advised by its external treasury and investment advisor that a ‘Euro-denominated credit linked note’ currently retaining an AA rating is now on negative watch by market intelligence expert Standard & Poor’s due to recent defaults by several financial firms.

Following this advice the company will tale an impairment charge on the investment of up to £5.2million.

This reduced its cash holdings to £3.3mill and investments to £8.8mill as of 30 September 2008.

A spokesman said: “This has happened only very recently – the investment has not been downgraded yet, but we are notifying investors there is a strong chance it will be, based on advice from our external investment advisor.”

Ceramic Fuel Cells is a developer of solid oxide fuel cell technology to provide low-emission electricity from natural gas and renewable fuels. CFCL is developing fuel cell products for small-scale on-site micro-CHP and distributed generation units that co-generate electricity and heat for domestic use.

The company spokesman said Ceramic Fuel Cells was looking at its options for securing future finance, cutting costs and pursuing a range of strategic options for the company’s powder plant in the UK.

But, the spokesman said Ceramic Fuel Cells is not considering the sale of its powder plant operation in Bromborough, Merseyside, and said the facility had “many commercial opportunities due to its quality”.

They added: “The real business of turning our technology into valuable products is going very well. There are lots of achievements over the last year.

In the coming year Ceramic Fuel Cells is expecting to develop semi-integrated and fully integrated units with utility customers and appliance partners. It will also be building up its manufacturing capacity including the opening of a large scale fuel cell plant in Germany in June 2008.

Partners include e.on and Gledhill Water Storage in the United Kingdom, EWE and Bruns in Germany, GDF Suez in France and Nuon in Belgium and the Netherlands.

Ceramic Fuel Cells chief executive Brendan Dow is pictured.