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DETROIT — DaimlerChrysler AG and Ford Motor Co. would provide $58 million to a Canadian partner for further fuel cell development and alter their roles in the alliance as part of a proposed agreement announced Thursday.

The Canadian company, Ballard Power Systems Inc., has been in the forefront of developing hydrogen fuel cells for automobiles. Ballard’s partners in commercializing fuel cells include DaimlerChrysler and Ford, though the alliance would be somewhat redefined under the new agreement.

In addition to the funding, DaimlerChrysler and Ford would buy Ballard’s vehicular fuel cell systems unit and become jointly responsible for developing and making the systems.

The two automakers, which have a 35 percent stake in Ballard, would acquire the systems business and, in exchange, return 9 million Ballard common shares they hold.

The shares, which were valued at $80.4 million at the close of trading Wednesday, would then be canceled.

After the deal, DaimlerChrysler and Ford would own 32.7 percent of Ballard, which is based in Burnaby, British Columbia. Ballard said the companies expect to complete the deal later this year.

Dennis Campbell, Ballard’s president and chief executive, said in a statement the realignment would allow Ballard to focus on fuel cell research while tapping resources at DaimlerChrysler and Ford.

Source: The Detroit News
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