Buyer with Broad Low-Carbon Vehicles Portfolio Owns Hardstaff Too
Dual fuel pioneer Clean Air Power has been acquired by the UK’s Vayon Group, a company specializing in low-carbon propulsion technologies. Vayon earlier this year acquired the UK’s distressed Hardstaff, another dual fuel engine systems developer. updated September 8
The CAP acquisition was finalized in Britain on September 4. The Lancashire-based company was founded in San Diego, where it maintains a presence, as Clean Air Partners.
“Clean Air Power provides skills, technology and market reach, which compliments those within Hardstaff Dual Fuel Technology, an existing Vayon Group business,” Vayon chairman Shane Hussain said in an announcement.
“The integration of these businesses provides the group with a unique position from which to strengthen the existing commitment to our customers’ low carbon ambitions,” Hussain said.
‘Complementary’ Dual Fuel Technologies
The Hardstaff and now CAP technologies within Vayon are “complementary,” says Vayon COO Neil Whittaker. The CAP buy, he says, “gives us two different platforms to meet the need sod two different types of customers. We’ve got two different ways of delivering the technology of dual duel.”
Hardstaff has developed an “emulation”-based method of engine control, Whittaker told F&F, while CAP’s system worked through the OEM’s CAN controller. he also pointed out that while Hardstaff, focused on Daimler-Mercedes engines, VAP’s recent focus has been on Volvo. “We end up with a really powerful technolotgy team.”
Much More than Natural Gas
In addition to Hardstaff and now CAP dual fuel, Vayon offers electric and hybrid electric vehicle and custom lithium ion battery systems under the FrostEV, GoodWolfe Energy and Ashwoods Energy brands, and also works with hydrogen.
“We are looking to broaden the customer base and the product portfolio,” Hussain told F&F, advising that Vayon COO Neil Whittaker is the effective CEO of the combined dual fuel operation.
“The plan is to develop the two business, to find synergies between them,” says a source close to the deal.
Oil Price Hurt Global Business
According to a separate statement by Clean Air Power chairman Rodney Westhead, “The fall in oil prices globally has had a drastic impact on sales in the U.S. and Russia.
“This significant challenge to the business was compounded by our customer on the South East Asian program deciding in June this year to extend testing rather than to proceed directly to the full production program as anticipated,” Westhead said. “These circumstances created significant pressure on the Group’s cash flows.”
Money for Shareholders: ‘Minimal’
“The oil price at $39 put our whole industry in a stress position,” says F&F’s source, who pointed to this week’s merger between Westport and Fuel Systems Solutions Inc. (F&F, September 1) as a further example of consolidation in the natural gas vehicles sector.
According to the acquisition notice on London Southeast, “The total consideration is £250,000 (approximately $379,000 U.S. at current rates) plus the company’s net cash at completion. However, this amount will be subject to a U.S. lease renegotiation and transaction fees such that the return to shareholders is expected to be minimal.”
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Source: Vayon Group and Clean Air Power with Fleets & Fuels follow-up