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Press Release

EKPO Fuel Cell Technologies secures high-volume series production contract for fuel cell stacks

  • Subsidiary of ElringKlinger and Plastic Omnium receives series production order covering a projected total volume in the high double-digit million euro range
  • Contract with AE Driven Solutions for exclusive, multi-year supply of NM5-evo fuel cell stacks from 2022 onward
  • AE Driven Solutions equips delivery vehicles for urban spaces with fuel cell systems


Dettingen/Erms (Germany), May 17, 2021 +++ The order pipeline of EKPO Fuel Cell Technologies GmbH (EKPO), the joint venture between ElringKlinger (60%) and Plastic Omnium (40%), is continuing to fill up: Aachen-based mobility company AE Driven Solutions GmbH (AEDS) has awarded EKPO an exclusive, multi-year contract to supply fuel cell stacks of the type NM5-evo. The order covers a planned volume in the high double-digit million euro range. The stacks are designed to meet AEDS's key criteria of performance, durability, and smooth operation and are to be fitted to delivery vehicles as part of the company's system integration efforts, the aim being to offer environmentally friendly drive technology in urban spaces. Series production of the stacks is scheduled to commence in the first half of 2022.

The NM5-evo stack is the newest addition to EKPO's stack portfolio. Alongside high power density of up to 4.6 kW/l in the cell block, it meets the customer's exacting standards in respect of durable, compact fuel cell stack design. In addition to the comparatively low weight, this includes a high power spectrum of up to 76 kW in pressure mode. Furthermore, the stack design offers the best possible basis when it comes to scaling and modularization, thus allowing the end customer to design its usage application with maximum flexibility and efficiency.

Like EKPO, AEDS has geared its business to next-generation mobility. The Aachen-based company equips vehicles for inner-city transport with eco-friendly fuel cell systems. In this context, the AEDS team can draw on its extensive expertise in the field of e-mobility. Following the successful development of the Streetscooter as a battery-powered delivery vehicle by the company's core team and its launch as a series application, AEDS is now using its experience to deploy fuel-cell-powered vehicles in conjunction with new mobility concepts in urban regions. In addition to CEO Tobias Reil, a former member of the executive board and head of production at Streetscooter GmbH, the AEDS team includes the shareholders Prof. Achim Kampker, one of the founders of Streetscooter GmbH, and Stefanie and Alexander Peters, managing partners of the NEUMAN & ESSER GROUP, which covers the entire value chain from the generation, compression, production and storage of hydrogen as well as green gases. In collaboration with other companies and institutions such as TÜV Rheinland, the PEM Group, and RWTH Aachen University, a next-generation mobility cluster centered around battery and hydrogen technologies is currently being created at the AEDS site in Aachen.

When it comes to evolving climate-friendly mobility, AEDS sees, similar to EKPO, the significant benefits associated with hydrogen-based technologies. In those cases in which the requisite hydrogen is produced by wind, solar, or water power, the drive system that relies on such fuel cell technology can be considered completely CO2-neutral. In the field of mobility, the advantages of hydrogen come to the fore wherever idle time is costly. In addition to long-distance transport, this applies above all to the area of last-mile delivery, i.e., applications with a long range or cyclical operation. Areas of use for vehicles include commercial and delivery vehicles as well as buses, but also industrial applications in the mobile sector such as special vehicles and materials handling equipment. In addition, hydrogen-based fuel cell drives are suitable for trains, ships, or aircraft.

Through its parent company ElringKlinger, EKPO has been actively pursuing fuel cell research and development for around 20 years. The compact stacks are based on proton-exchange membrane (PEM) technology and convert chemical into electrical energy using hydrogen and oxygen. EKPO offers stacks in various configurations for integration into customer systems. Stacks with peripheral components and system functionalities integrated into the media module are also available as an option. These features enable considerable simplification and cost reduction with regard to the fuel cell system. Drawing on the system solutions of its parent company Plastic Omnium, EKPO can cover the entire value chain of a hydrogen-based fuel cell drive. EKPO has an initial production capacity of up to 10,000 stacks per year, which will be gradually expanded in line with its order intake.

About EKPO Fuel Cell Technologies
EKPO Fuel Cell Technologies (EKPO), headquartered in Dettingen/Erms (Germany), is a leading joint venture in the development and large-scale production of fuel cell stacks for CO2-neutral mobility. The company is a full-service supplier for fuel cell stacks and components used in passenger cars, light commercial vehicles, trucks, buses, as well as in train and marine applications. Within this context, the company is building on the industrialization expertise of two established international automotive suppliers - ElringKlinger and Plastic Omnium.

The aim of the joint venture is to develop and mass-produce high-performance fuel cell stacks in order to further advance CO2-neutral mobility - whether on the road, rail, water or off-road.

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EKPO Fuel Cell Technologies secures high-volume series production contract for fuel cell stacks
Press Release

EKPO will supply fuel cell stacks to GCK for their high power Fuel Cell system

Dettingen/Erms, May 10, 2021 +++ EKPO Fuel Cell Technologies (EKPO), a joint venture between ElringKlinger AG and Plastic Omnium, has been selected by GCK as stack supplier for their high power fuel cell system. With this award, EKPO will launch their “NM12 Twin Stack” which boasts a market leading power of over 200kW, and is specially designed for applications with high output requirements.

This system will be adapted by GCK to a range of industrial applications, making its first outing on their hydrogen-powered vehicle that will compete in the 2023 Dakar Rally.

"The specific racing conditions are a uniquely tough proving ground for our products, and the best demonstrator for EKPO and GCK technology. The fact our Fuel cell stacks were chosen by GCK makes us very proud," says Julien Etienne, Chief Commercial Officer at EKPO Fuel Cell Technologies.

The decisive reasons for choosing EKPO's stacks were not only their market benchmark power density combined with a compact design and low weight, but above all their mature and already industrialized technology. "EKPO offers a unique product range and already has serial production capacity in place, which makes us a reliable partner from day one", Etienne explains.

Successful launch of EKPO
This award has been granted shortly after EKPO started operations in March 2021. The company site in Dettingen/Erms, Germany, is already able to produce up to 10,000 fuel cell stacks per year according to automotive industrial standards as well as key components of a stack, such as bipolar plates or media modules.

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EKPO will supply fuel cell stacks to GCK for their high power Fuel Cell system
Press Release

ElringKlinger reports strong surge in earnings for first quarter of 2021

  • Group revenue up by 7.0% to EUR 424.1 million in first quarter, organically by 10.7%
  • Significant improvement in earnings: EBIT of EUR 48.4 million up EUR 32.4 million on prior-year figure; EBIT margin at 11.4%
  • Net debt again down markedly by more than EUR 200 million to EUR 400.2 million in last twelve months; net debt/EBITDA at 1.9
  • Strong position in terms of orders, including very good order intake and high order backlog


Dettingen/Erms (Germany), May 6, 2021 +++ ElringKlinger AG (ISIN DE 0007856023 / WKN 785602) has published its full results for the first quarter of the current financial year. In commenting on the Group's performance, Dr. Stefan Wolf, CEO of ElringKlinger AG, said, "The positive trajectory seen in previous quarters was maintained at the beginning of 2021. We upscaled our revenue in the first quarter and achieved a significant improvement in earnings. The marked reduction in net debt, among other aspects, is a testament to the sustained impact of our efficiency enhancement program. Overall, this has put us in a very solid position for the rest of the year, which will remain challenging against the backdrop of elevated commodity prices and continued distortions within the supply chain."

Significant growth in revenue
Despite the headwind caused by currency effects, Group revenue rose by EUR 27.8 million or 7.0% to EUR 424.1 million (Q1 2020: EUR 396.2 million). If exchange rates had remained unchanged, revenues generated by the Group would have been EUR 14.4 million higher. On this basis, organic revenue growth amounted to EUR 42.3 million or 10.7%. This was primarily due to the direction taken by the US dollar, but also the Brazilian real, the Mexican peso, and the Turkish lira. No revenue from acquired or divested companies was accounted for in the reporting period.

Having felt the effects of the coronavirus pandemic in China in the first quarter of the previous year, ElringKlinger recorded a significant increase in revenue in the Asia-Pacific region from January to March 2021, up 38.8% to EUR 81.8 million. In Europe, the Group saw revenue expand by 4.8%. In North America, meanwhile, the decline in sales revenue recorded by ElringKlinger in the first quarter of 2021 was attributable solely to currency effects. At constant exchange rates, the Group's revenue would have increased slightly compared to the same period last year.

Strong operating result
The growth in revenue was also reflected in the bottom-line result: the Group achieved earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortization (EBITDA) of EUR 77.2 million in the first quarter of 2021, which was up EUR 31.4 million or 68.6% on the prior-year level of EUR 45.8 million. Earnings before interest and taxes (EBIT) increased by EUR 32.4 million to EUR 48.4 million, which corresponds to an EBIT margin of 11.4% (Q1 2020: 4.0%). Excluding the gain of EUR 10.9 million on disposal of the Austrian subsidiary, which was transferred to the French partner as part of the agreement with Plastic Omnium, the EBIT margin stood at 8.8%, a significant increase on previous quarters. Alongside a favorable product and regional mix, this was also attributable to better utilization of existing capacities as a result of buoyant demand. In addition, both the Aftermarket and the Engineered Plastics segment made a very solid contribution to Group earnings.

Due to a positive net finance result and a marked improvement in the effective tax rate, the Group was also able to significantly increase its net income for the period (after non-controlling interests) to EUR 37.9 million (Q1 2020: EUR 2.0 million). This translates into earnings per share of EUR 0.60 in the first three months of 2021, compared to EUR 0.03 in the first quarter of the previous year.

Net debt ratio scaled back to 1.9
ElringKlinger continued to pursue its disciplined investment approach in the first quarter, in addition to further optimizing net working capital. In conjunction with the substantial improvement in earnings performance, these measures resulted in operating free cash flow of EUR 28.6 million, which contrasts with EUR -2.2 million in the first three months of the previous year. This figure does not include proceeds from the sale of the Austrian subsidiary or the payment of EUR 30 million received by ElringKlinger under the terms of the agreement with French supplier Plastic Omnium as part of the companies' partnership relating to fuel cell technology. The latter payment will help to accelerate further capacity expansion at the joint venture EKPO Fuel Cell Technologies GmbH, an entity fully consolidated by ElringKlinger.

The Group was thus able to continue to pursue its approach of consistently scaling back net debt. In the first quarter, net financial liabilities were reduced by a further EUR 58.6 million compared to the level reported at the end of 2020, taking the total to EUR 400.2 million. Net debt has been cut by more than EUR 200 million in the past twelve months and by almost EUR 400 million in the last two years. The net debt ratio (net debt in relation to EBITDA) was 1.9 at the end of the reporting period, having stood at 3.1 twelve months ago and at 4.7 two years ago.

Impressive order books
The sustained demand for ElringKlinger's products around the globe is reflected in the Group's strong position with regard to orders: at EUR 576.6 million, order intake was up EUR 221.7 million or 62.5% on the same period of the previous year. This also resulted in a surge in the Group's order backlog by EUR 196.6 million or 19.9% to EUR 1,185.6 million.

Outlook under challenging conditions
Upon publishing its preliminary quarterly results on April 16, 2021, ElringKlinger had already confirmed its revenue guidance for the current financial year and had slightly revised upward its earnings outlook. The Group continues to expect growth at a level roughly in line with the expansion in global car production, while the EBIT margin is likely to be within a range of around 5 to 6%. In this context, it should be taken into account that the uncertainties with regard to the remainder of the year are significant and that general conditions continue to be very challenging and difficult.

Key financials for Q1 2021

in EUR millionQ1 2021Q1 2020∆ abs.∆ rel.
Order intake576.6354.9+221.7+62.5%
Order backlog1,185.6989.0+196.6+19.9%
of which FX effects  -14.4-3.7%
of which M&A  +0.0+0.0%
of which organic  +42.3+10.7%
EBIT margin (in %)11.44.0+7.4 PP-
Net finance income1.0-9.8+10.8<-100%
Taxes on income-10.9-4.5-6.4>+100%
Net income (after non-controlling interests)37.92.0+35.9>+100%
Earnings per share (in EUR)0.600.03+0.57>+100%
Investments (in property, plant, and equipment and investment property)11.612.3-0.7-5.7%
Operating free cash flow28.6-2.2+30.8<-100%
Net working capital430.4452.8-22.4-4.9%
Equity ratio (in %)45.041.7+3.3 PP-
Net financial debt400.2603.1-202.9-33.6%
Net financial debt/EBITDA1.93.1-1.2-
Employees (as of March 31)9,59710,373-776-7.5%
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Press Release

ElringKlinger secures IPCEI funding for innovative battery cell housing design

  • The funding will enable ElringKlinger to develop innovative battery cell housing components and get them ready for industrial-scale production
  • The German Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy and the state of Baden-Württemberg will provide a total of EUR 33.8 million by the end of 2026
  • Dr. Stefan Wolf, CEO of ElringKlinger AG: "With our innovative battery cell housing design, we want to make a lasting contribution toward climate-neutral battery cell manufacture in Europe."


Dettingen/Erms (Germany), April 27, 2021 +++ ElringKlinger AG's project to develop innovative battery cell housing components and get them ready for industrial-scale production is to be funded by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy (BMWi) and the state of Baden-Württemberg as part of the second European large-scale IPCEI (Important Project of Common European Interest) for battery technology. Thomas Bareiß, Parliamentary State Secretary at the BMWi, and Dr. Nicole Hoffmeister-Kraut, Minister of Economic Affairs of the State of Baden-Württemberg, presented Dr. Stefan Wolf, CEO of ElringKlinger AG, with the official funding approval earlier today. The small-scale ceremony at the chamber of commerce and industry in Reutlingen was held behind closed doors due to the coronavirus pandemic, although the speeches, the presentation of the official approval, and the subsequent panel debate were live-streamed on the BMWi website for journalists and the general public.

The second battery IPCEI, entitled "European Battery Innovation - EuBatIn," is being coordinated by Germany. It was approved by the European Commission in late January 2021, at the same time as the companies involved were also announced. All in all, twelve EU countries are providing up to EUR 2.9 billion in funding to develop a European value chain for battery production. ElringKlinger is one of only eleven German companies to obtain funding of this kind as part of the EuBatIn program.

ElringKlinger's project is geared toward the development and industrial-scale production of innovative battery cell housing components and stands to receive a total of EUR 33.8 million in funding by the end of 2026. The innovative design of the cell lid allows fewer and less complex components to be used and reduces the need for energy-intensive raw materials such as aluminum and copper. The cell lid ensures that power is transmitted into and out of the cell via its poles. ElringKlinger's innovative concept means that up to a quarter of the components can be eliminated in full, reducing the amount of manufacturing work and materials required and thus shrinking the product's carbon footprint by around 40 percent.

Dr. Stefan Wolf, CEO of ElringKlinger AG, comments: "In the project for which we've secured funding, we're putting our core skills such as forming and injection molding, coating technologies and toolmaking to targeted use in order to develop a battery cell housing design and manufacture it on an industrial scale. Building on the insights and experience we've gained, we not only want to harness the market potential for cell housings in Europe but also to make a lasting contribution to European climate-neutral battery cell production."

Thomas Bareiß, Parliamentary State Secretary at the BMWi, adds: "With the battery IPCEIs, the battery value chain in Europe is continuing to take shape. As well as cell manufacture, however, it's also about components like battery housings or the production machinery for batteries. With its IPCEI project, ElringKlinger will be helping to create a competitive value chain for the European battery industry by developing an innovative cell housing design and getting it ready for industrial-scale production. A project like this is a source of pride: the company is opening up new areas of business, thus securing value creation and jobs in the region, particularly at this time of major technological change."

Dr. Nicole Hoffmeister-Kraut, Minister of Economic Affairs of the State of Baden-Württemberg, also underlines the importance of a battery industry: "Battery technology is a key technology for the future that will be absolutely indispensable in all areas of industrial value creation. We want to be covering around 30 percent of global demand for battery cells from German and European production by 2030. Baden-Württemberg is also to play a leading role in this area and adopt a vital position along the whole of the value chain. Thanks to ElringKlinger's IPCEI project, we're a big step closer to achieving this goal."

In the battery technology segment, ElringKlinger's product range includes components such as cell contact systems, module connectors, and pressure equalizers. The Group has been manufacturing cell contact systems on an industrial scale for around ten years now. Besides components, ElringKlinger also offers high-performance prismatic and cylindrical modules as well as complete battery systems. Its first orders for series production are currently in the pre-production phase.

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Press Release

AUTO SHANGHAI 2021: ElringKlinger showcases innovations for all drive types

Shanghai, Dettingen/Erms, 21. April 2021 +++ At AUTO SHANGHAI 2021, ElringKlinger will be showcasing suitable solutions for vehicles of all drive types - be they classic combustion engines, hybrids or purely electrically powered cars. In addition to innovative gaskets and thermal and acoustic shielding systems, the company will be presenting complete fuel cell stacks and components, products from the field of battery technology and components for use in electric drive units. Extensive safety precautions will be taken at the booth so that visitors can enjoy their stay even in times of pandemic.

The automotive industry is in a state of flux. In addition, the world has been in a state of emergency for over a year now. "It is all the more pleasing that we can once again come into direct contact with our customers this year. This important trade fair offers a first-class platform to take a step back into normality. It is nice that we will be able to present a number of premieres at our stand this year," says a delighted Humphrey Chen, General Manager of ElringKlinger China Ltd.

These include various products from the field of fuel cell technology, for the first time also of the newly founded join venture EKPO Fuel Cell Technologies. The "NM12 Single" fuel cell stack module (PEMFC) with 359 cells based on metallic bipolar plates with an electrical output of 123 kWel is designed for high power requirements. ElringKlinger will also be exhibiting the "NM5-EVO" fuel cell stack module (PEMFC) with integrated system functionalities. This 335-cell stack module has an electrical output of 76 kWel and can be used for integration into drive systems as a fuel cell-battery hybrid system or range extender. "Especially in China, our fuel cell stacks are a competitive alternative to battery electric drives or the internal combustion engine due to their high performance," Chen explains.

Two battery modules and production-ready components
In addition to its long-standing expertise in the field of fuel cells, ElringKlinger has also been active in the area of battery technology for a good decade. As part of AUTO SHANGHAI 2021, the company will be presenting two different battery modules - a 48 V module made of prismatic lithium-ion cells and a 60 V module made of cylindrical lithium-ion cells for integration into a battery storage system up to a total system voltage of 400 V. "In addition, there are various components on display at our booth that underscore the fact that ElringKlinger also has broad-based expertise in this area. In addition to pressure equalization elements for protecting battery storage housings, these include cell contacting systems that are used in traction batteries for hybrid and battery-electric vehicles," Mr. Dirk Schneider, Vice President of Sales AP explains in detail.

Wide range of products for the modern combustion engine
Despite the increasing shift towards alternative drive technologies, the modern combustion engine will also still play an important role in the coming years. ElringKlinger has more than 100 years of experience in the field of gasket technology and has, for example, developed the cylinder-head gasket into a high-tech product over time. There are several examples of this to look at.

From the field of shielding technology, various ElroActiveTM systems (thermal shielding) and ElroShieldTM systems (thermal and acoustic shielding) will be on display at AUTO SHANGHAI 2021.

Lightweight plastic components are used in all vehicles, regardless of their powertrain type. These include cockpit cross members and a door module carrier made from thermoplastic composites and plastic injection, which can be viewed.

Extensive hygiene concept at the booth
To ensure that all visitors feel safe, ElringKlinger has taken various precautions. "The safety of all is important for us - for our customers, visitors at our booth and teams organizing and executing the exhibition. Therefore we will organize special prevention in helping social distancing, face masks protection and assure hygienic prevention in order to make this event not only a success in terms of business but also a good example for getting back to business together with the challenging pandemic threats," says Chen.

ElringKlinger at AUTO SHANGHAI 2021
Hall 1.2, Booth 5BI101

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The 118th Annual General Meeting of ElringKlinger AG took place on May 16, 2023 as a virtual Annual General Meeting at the ICS International Congress Center Stuttgart, Messepiazza, 70629 Stuttgart, Germany.

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