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Posts tagged: Gary Flood

Why did promising ReliOn only sell for $4 million? Fuel cell firms are struggling

Unless Spokane-based hydrogen fuel cell company ReliOn could land a big investment or find a buyer, its chances of riding out 2014 looked bleak, its former chief executive officer said this week.

So to keep the company operating, ReliOn’s investors agreed to sell the company to New York-based fuel cell maker Plug Power Inc.

“The advantage for us is that we’re now part of a larger company,” said Gary Flood, who became CEO of ReliOn nine years ago. With the sale, he’s no longer in charge but is still ReliOn president.

The company faced challenges widespread across the fuel cell industry, Flood said. Companies have generally focused on one niche area, with the result that they incur significant operating expenses without generating enough cash to be self-sustaining, he said.

ReliOn’s niche has been designing and selling stationary backup power systems. Plug Power has been selling power units for companies that use vehicles to haul equipment and materials.
Discussions that started earlier this year led to this week’s announcement that Plug Power was gaining ReliOn’s customers, patents and inventory for $4 million.

That sale price wasn’t as high as ReliOn’s investors were hoping to get, Flood said.

“Unfortunately, you’re worth what you’re worth,” Flood said, noting that the buyout essentially wiped away ReliOn’s outstanding debt.
Plug Power, launched in 1997 and traded on the Nasdaq, still hasn’t had a profitable year for the same reasons faced by ReliOn, Flood noted.

ReliOn announces another round of backing, expanding sales goals

Spokane Valley fuel cell developer, ReliOn, announced Tuesday it's gained an additional $6 million in further investment from its existing backers.

The money, according to a ReliOn release, will help push further U.S. commercial sales and expand marketing and sales internationally.

The focus in Europe derives, in part, from ReliOn's recently announced partnership with HOPPECKE Batteriren GmbH, a major European innovator and producer of battery systems.

A press release Tuesday noted that privately held ReliOn has enjoyed a nice upward swing in sales and gross profit.

The release also quoted CEO Gary Flood saying, “With this funding, we are able to accelerate a number of important programs currently underway which move the company toward our objective of becoming the first profitable fuel cell company.”

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The Spokesman-Review business team follows economic development in Spokane and the Inland Northwest.

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Alison Boggs (@alisonboggs) Online Producer Alison Boggs posts and manages content on and its social networking accounts.

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Scott Maben Scott Maben is a Deputy City Editor who covers North Idaho news and higher education.

Addy Hatch is the city editor, and formerly was business editor.

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