Danbury producer cuts 135 jobs – Danbury Information Occasions

FuelCell Vitality CEO Chip Bottone in February 2017.

FuelCell Vitality CEO Chip Bottone in February 2017.

Picture: Carol Kaliff / Hearst Connecticut Media

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Picture: Carol Kaliff / Hearst Connecticut Media

FuelCell Vitality CEO Chip Bottone in February 2017.

FuelCell Vitality CEO Chip Bottone in February 2017.

Picture: Carol Kaliff / Hearst Connecticut Media

Danbury producer cuts 135 jobs

FuelCell Vitality laid off 135 workers on Friday, with the corporate stating it’s going to save $11.5 million yearly consequently.

FuelCell disclosed the job cuts Monday in a submitting with the U.S. Securities & Alternate Fee, stating the motion follows completion of a brand new energy plant on Triangle Road in Danbury that aligns gasoline cells in a different way to extend the effectivity of the hydrogen used for his or her gasoline.

FuelCell additionally introduced the retirement of Anthony Rauseo as chief working officer, who held the position since 2010 and obtained $830,000 in compensation final yr.

Beneath CEO Chip Bottone, FuelCell has its important manufacturing facility in Torrington the place it produces gasoline cells that generate electrical energy via a chemical course of. The job cuts have been cut up largely between Danbury and Torrington, in response to Tom Gelston, head of investor relations, with the corporate having 420 workers between the 2 areas as of March and 60 elsewhere.

“We don’t undertake these actions calmly, and we stay targeted on executing within the near-term on the (80-plus) megawatts in backlog of tasks now we have already received,” Gelston said in an e-mail response to a Hearst Connecticut question on Monday. “These actions shouldn’t impression our industrial means to ship on these tasks.”

Torrington Mayor Elinor Carbone stated she acquired a telephone name Friday telling her concerning the layoffs, including “They stated it was monetary circumstances.” “There are such a lot of proficient Torrington residents,” she stated.

Carbone stated in a later e-mail that she was “very upset to study of the layoffs right here in Torrington and Danbury. Gas Cell just lately reached out to my workplace to ask us to rejoice their 50th anniversary and fewer than 2 weeks later, they referred to as to tell me of the reductions being made to their workforce. I sincerely hope it is a short-term measure that can afford them to restructure and rebuild.”

In January, FuelCell reworked the phrases of a $10 million mortgage first issued in 2015 by the state, with the corporate required to have a Connecticut workforce numbering almost 540 individuals by 2022. FuelCell would obtain a $2 million mortgage “forgiveness” credit score if it does so.

If it falls quick, it might be required to pay $18,600 for every promised job it failed to keep up for a interval of two years. Gelston didn’t state instantly whether or not FuelCell has sought any new adjustment to the phrases of the deal.

FuelCell reported a $33 million loss within the first quarter of its fiscal yr overlaying November via January — the biggest it ever reported for a single, three-month interval — with income down by greater than half to $17.eight million.

After a $62 million loss in its 2018 fiscal yr, FuelCell has gone 20 years now with no revenue. The corporate’s property totaled $346 million coming into February, together with $27.7 million in money unrestricted by any contractual necessities.

Contributing to FuelCell’s latest losses have been dividends it has paid out to traders for most well-liked inventory as a way to boost money to fund operations, with FuelCell’s frequent inventory buying and selling at 27 cents a share Monday. The corporate faces a late Could deadline to carry the worth above $1 or see its inventory delisted from the Nasdaq change on which its shares commerce.

FuelCell reported having a file, $1.three billion backlog as of January, with orders for energy crops in Connecticut and New York taking over a few of the slack from declining enterprise in South Korea. The corporate is now in a authorized dispute with an influence firm there that had lengthy been its largest buyer.

“We’ve seen each utility firms within the state — Avangrid and Eversource — acknowledge the advantages of our tasks,” Bottone stated final month throughout a convention name with traders. “The identical dynamics that took form in South Korea and in Connecticut at the moment are enjoying out in New York. The (Lengthy Island Energy Authority) tasks … (put) crops proper the place the facility is required, and once more giving us a management place.”

The corporate just lately accomplished a design for a solid-oxide gasoline cell that generates lower than a megawatt of electrical energy, with its mainstay carbonate gasoline cell expertise having bigger capability.

JoAnn Ryan, president and CEO of the Northwest Connecticut Chamber of Commerce, stated the group has “the assets to assist the workers who’ve been laid off.

“We’ve got a fast response workforce prepared. There a variety of jobs within the space. I do know of 1 firm (within the space) that’s including a second shift,” she stated.

Ryan stated she heard it was a complete shift of staff at FuelCell who have been laid off.

She stated the chamber would work with the state Division of Labor “to ensure we might help. It’s not simple for both the workers or the employers.”

Requested concerning the impression of the layoffs, she stated that “lots of people didn’t sleep properly over the weekend.”

Leslie Hutchison contributed to this story. Alex.Soule@scni.com; 203-842-2545; @casoulman

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