Hydrogen tech specialist ITM Power raises £165m with share issue and European buy-in

The technology partner behind Gigastack, the Humber’s pioneering green hydrogen project, has raised £165 million in a major share issue and company buy-in.

ITM Power placed more than 55 million shares at 235p, while Italian gas pipeline specialist Snam has also taken a £30 million minority holding.

To meet investor demand the issue was increased by £15 million, with a further open offer to be made with an additional £7 million eyed.

ITM said the funds will be used to “further accelerate the maximisation of manufacturing capacity” and to invest in the group’s operational capabilities. It is in the process of launching a huge new manufacturing facility in Sheffield as it scales up electrolyser capability to 100MW, with a vision for 1GW production capacity by 2024.

It comes less than 24 hours after Governor of the Bank of England, Andrew Bailey, told of strong demand for green investment.

Dr Graham Cooley, chief executive, said: “The growth of global markets for green hydrogen is accelerating fast. As a result of this successful fundraise, ITM Power is well positioned to build on its existing leadership and capitalise on this rapidly developing market. We are delighted with the results of the fundraise and thank our existing shareholders for their support and welcome our new investors.”

ITM Power’s new factory in Sheffield.

The South Yorkshire team is working with Danish offshore wind giant Orsted and US oil giant Phillips 66 to bring forward green hydrogen fuel switching at the Humber Refinery.

The government-backed scheme will tap into the power brought ashore close by from  Hornsea Two – set to take the title as the world’s largest offshore wind farm when it is built.  The issue came just minutes before Energy and Clean Growth Minister Kwasi Kwarteng referenced Gigastack in a major Humber summit address.

It is anticipated the shares will be admitted to the London Stock Exhange on November 12, with Investec Bank acting as sole bookrunner.

On the deal, Snam chief executive Marco Alverà, said: “The agreement with one of the main global producers of electrolysers is Snam’s first external investment in the hydrogen sector and stands alongside those we are already advancing to make our infrastructure ready for the transport of this new clean energy carrier.

“The partnership with ITM Power allows us to build on our know-how in technologies for the production of green hydrogen in a way that is functional to business development and to become a player along the value chain.

“We want to develop new projects and contribute to enabling the supply chain, both internationally and in particular in Italy, which has the opportunity to become a green hydrogen hub between Europe and North Africa.

“Our goal is to help establish hydrogen and renewable gases, together with renewable electricity, as decisive solutions to achieve the international climate neutrality goals.”

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Student unions cost £165m a year but only one in 10 undergraduates turn out to elect staff, report reveals

Student union staff cost £165m to employ but only one in 10 undergraduates turn out for their elections, a new report has revealed, as Sajid Javid warns the British tradition of free speech is under threat.

Taxpayers and students spend the sum every year on the wages of 600 full-time officers who are meant to represent the voice of students on campus, according to the analysis of 138 unions by the Adam Smith Institute.

However, only 11 per cent of students on average turn out to vote for aspiring officers in student elections, the report found – despite efforts to encourage them to engage with the process through “freebies” such as complementary pizza and discounts at student shops.

In addition, a mere 56 per cent believe their student union does a good job of representing their academic interests, the analysis found.

Student unions banning speakers deemed to hold controversial opinions and blocking the sale of particular publications on campus are some of the issues raised in the report, which the authors say shows that unions are “highly political organisations with little claim to a democratic mandate”.

Mr Javid, the former Chancellor and Home Secretary, said the practice of “silencing” those with whom “an intolerant minority” disagree is part of a worrying trend at universities across the UK.

“British universities are meant to be places of open debate and intellectual freedom. Their proud tradition of liberalism is foundational for bringing students into contact with new and challenging ideas. That tradition is under threat,” he said.

“In student unions across the UK, an intolerant minority is seeking to silence those they disagree with under the banner of no-platforming and safe spaces.

“Their campaign of censorship is an assault on one of our most precious and fundamental rights – freedom of speech. Championing students by protecting legal free speech should be one of the higher education sector’s top priorities.”

The report said the Office for Students, an independent public body, should become the main regulator of universities when it comes to issues such as free speech on campus.

Universities Minister Michelle Donelan said: “This report raises serious concerns about the funding and operation of student unions. For instance £160m could support a lot of bursaries.

“It is vital students have a voice but the report highlights there are also issues around the extent to which student unions represent student cohorts and their needs.”

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