John Cockerill in talks with governments and French hydrogen fund for €300m H2 fundraise: report
The Belgian engineering group is raising capital amid global electrolyser factory expansion
Belgium’s John Cockerill is currently raising €300m ($324m) in capital for its hydrogen business from federal and regional governments as well as private investors, according to reporting by Belgian newspaper L’Echo.
John Cockerill Hydrogen, which manufactures pressurised alkaline electrolysers, is reportedly in talks with an unnamed French firm for a €50-100m investment from its €2bn hydrogen-focused fund.
Wallonie Entreprendre, the Wallonia region’s public fund, is set to provide €50m in a convertible loan, while the federal government’s financial arm SFPIM will provide another €50m in direct capital.
The fundraising will also come with a restructuring of John Cockerill Hydrogen’s ownership, which is currently 80.65% held by industrialist Bernard Serin and 19.35% by Dodeca, a vehicle for John Cockerill’s other directors.
Rely, a joint venture between John Cockerill and Technip focused on EPC for hydrogen projects, will take a 10% stake in John Cockerill Hydrogen, while the remaining shares are set to be redistributed between the current owners, SFPIM, Wallonie Entreprendre, and the French fund.
This fundraising activity follows major investment into global factory expansions.
John Cockerill currently operates three gigafactories for electrolysers, one fully owned in France and two in China through its subsidiary Cockerill Jingli Hydrogen, and aims to have 8GW of manufacturing capacity by 2025.
The electrolyser manufacturer had started construction on a gigafactory in the US at the end of last year, with an eye to starting assembly of its machines this summer.
John Cockerill has also partnered with Greenko in India to develop 1GW of annual electrolyser manufacturing capacity, 300MW of which will be covered by national government subsidies.
The Belgium firm announced at the beginning of 2023 it would build the first electrolyser gigafactory in Africa as part of a joint venture with an unnamed energy company in Morocco, although a timeline on when this will start construction is yet to be disclosed.
Similarly, it is planning to establish a joint venture with state-owned companies Adnoc and Strata Manufacturing to build a 1GW factory in the UAE.
John Cockerill is also reportedly considering a gigawatt-scale manufacturing site in the Belgian city of Seraing, where it is headquartered.