Clean Energy Fuels (CLNE) Acquires Nat Gas Auto Conversion Company BAF Technologies

It appears Clean Energy Fuels (CLNE) wants to position itself for the potential growth in natural gas powered vehicles with a purchase this morning of BAF Technologies which is the leading provider of natural gas vehicle systems and conversions in the US.  This is a great move and gives them a complete natural gas vehicle solution from conversion to the fuel pump.  Fuel Systems Solutions (FSYS) is the current leader in nat gas auto conversions, with most of their growth coming overseas.  I always thought it would make sense for CLNE and FSYS to merge, but instead they will compete here in the US.  The market for nat gas vehicles isn’t as big as it overseas, but CLNE CEO Andrew Littlefair believes that US automakers will one day produce nat gas vehicles and that fueling infrastructure will improve over time.  This is a way to position them for that.

CLNE is paying about $8.3 million for BAF, but is holding $3.8 million of the company’s debt so anticipates paying closer to $4.5 million to close the deal. 

Said the CEO: “Domestic auto manufacturers have been remiss in not making NGVs available in the United States, even though the same companies produce numerous makes and models overseas where the NGV market is also growing.  We believe that automakers will ultimately produce natural gas vehicles for the U.S. market. When they do, BAF’s technology may aid the automakers for future NGVs that are produced on a factory line. And today, BAF’s after-market systems ensure that current NGVs are available for domestic light-duty fleets. We believe that the acquisition of BAF will support the needs of fleet customers today and will help us take advantage of the accelerating growth in the domestic NGV market in the future.”

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