Stellantis to invest as major shareholder in Symbio
Stellantis wants to become the third shareholder in the Symbio fuel cell joint venture, alongside Faurecia and Michelin. Negotiations to acquire a “substantial stake” are underway. The transaction is expected to close in the first half of 2023.
++ This article has been updated. Kindly continue reading below. ++
This is according to a statement issued by Stellantis. The size of the stake in the French company has not yet been made public. In addition, the multi-division OEM, which also carries several major French brands, stresses that the deal is subject to customary closing conditions and regulatory approvals. “Symbio’s technical roadmap perfectly matches with Stellantis’ hydrogen roll-out plans in Europe and in the US,” Stellantis CEO Carlos Tavares said, explaining the move.
“This move will foster the speed of development to bring low emission products to our customers, beyond traditional electric vehicles,” Tavares added. “We’re grateful to the teams at Faurecia, Michelin and Symbio for their commitment to innovation, excellence, and collaboration as we all work to achieve decarbonized mobility.”
Symbio was founded in November 2019 by Faurecia and Michelin and established as a fuel cell manufacturer focused on the European market. It expanded into the US in August 2022. The Stellantis Group has been one of the joint venture’s close partners. For example, it relies on Symbio’s stacks for the announced fuel cell versions of the Opel Vivaro-e and its sister models. As part of its Dare Forward 2030 strategic plan, Stellantis is pursuing, among other things, the expansion of hydrogen offerings to larger commercial vehicles – starting in 2024 in Europe and from 2025 in the USA.
Symbio itself announced in October 2022 that it would push ahead with its industrialisation under the project label ‘HyMotive’. In the course of this, the production capacity in France is to be increased to 100,000 fuel cell systems per year by 2028 and 1,000 additional jobs created.
From the point of view of the previous two shareholders, the transaction supports Symbio’s development, as the company will benefit from Stellantis’ leading position in the European and American automotive markets. “By the intention of acquiring a stake in Symbio, Stellantis confirms the robustness of Michelin and Faurecia’s approach to creating a global leader in zero-emission mobility. The new setup will accelerate and globalize Symbio’s growth to the benefit of its customers,” says Patrick Koller, CEO of Faurecia, for example.
Florent Menegaux, CEO of Michelin, adds that Michelin is convinced that hydrogen fuel cell technology will make an effective contribution to the decarbonisation of mobility and even beyond. “The arrival of Stellantis in Symbio’s capital would reinforce this conviction and would catalyze the tremendous industrial momentum we have built with Faurecia.”
Update 16 May 2023
The Stellantis automotive group is paving the way for its announced entry into the Symbio fuel cell joint venture as a third shareholder alongside Faurecia and Michelin in the form of a binding agreement. Faurecia, Michelin and Stellantis will each own 33.3 per cent of Symbio when the transaction closes, expected in the third quarter of 2023. The announcement does not say how much the automaker will pay for that stake.
“Acquiring an equal stake in Symbio will bolster our leadership position in hydrogen-powered vehicles by supporting our fuel cell van production in France, and it also serves as a perfect complement to our growing battery electric vehicle portfolio,” said Carlos Tavares, CEO of Stellantis.
Symbio plans to produce 50,000 fuel cells per year by 2025 at its Saint-Fons factory, which is scheduled to start production in the second half of 2023. “We are delighted with this transaction which further increases Symbio’s capabilities and will give additional momentum to the joint venture. Symbio is now perfectly equipped to scale up and expand its leadership outside Europe, at a time when the automotive industry is accelerating towards zero emissions,” said Faurecia CEO Patrick Koller.