Mitsubishi, Shell and Johnson Matthey Establish Venture Capital Company for the Hydrogen Economy

Conduit Ventures Limited ("Conduit") will be Europe's first venture capital company focused on the high growth area of fuel cells and related hydrogen technologies.

Published: 30-Jan-2002

Tokyo, Japan, Jan. 29, 2002 () -- Mitsubishi Corporation, Shell Hydrogen ("Shell") and Johnson Matthey plc today announce the creation of Conduit Ventures Limited ("Conduit"), Europe's first venture capital company focused on the high growth area of fuel cells and related hydrogen technologies. Conduit will make investments in companies that have established fuel cell and hydrogen technologies and are seeking further capital for commercial sales and development.

Conduit will be based in London and will make global investments with a focus on Europe and North America. Other investors will be invited to join the fund, raising up to $100 million.

Conduit will be managed by two former investment bankers who specialized in the energy and fuel cell industries: John Butt, formerly a Director of European Mergers and Acquisitions at Schroder Salomon Smith Barney and John Knight, formerly the Managing Director and head of European Oil and Gas at Schroder Salomon Smith Barney.

"We believe that fuel cells and related hydrogen technologies have enormous potential to become the fuel technologies of the future. Conduit will concentrate on investments that are at a post-seed/pre-IPO with technology that is close to commercialization," said Don Huberts, Chief Executive Officer of Shell Hydrogen.

"The fuel cell industry is revolutionizing the way power is delivered to all areas of our lives from cars, mobile phones and computers and the delivery of electricity to our homes and work places. Johnson Matthey supplies much of the precious metal materials and technology for fuel cells and we are pleased to have the opportunity to work with Mitsubishi and Shell in creating a fund with the aim of developing a portfolio of world class investments," said David Morgan, Executive Director of Johnson Matthey responsible for corporate development.

"Mitsubishi Corporation has interests in all areas of the emerging hydrogen economy and we have our own business development plans in fuel cell related industries including development of many different applications for fuel cell. We believe that the combination of our skills with those of Shell and Johnson Matthey, together with the experience and creativity of John Butt and John Knight will mean that Conduit can create more opportunities to develop well funded and successful commercialization of new fuel cell industries," said Mr Hirai, senior manager, energy business development unit of Mitsubishi Corporation in Tokyo.

Fuel cell technologies are already being used for stationary power, residential power and portable power, with future applications in bus engines and car engines. Orders for larger fuel cells to produce electricity in competition with existing power stations and grid electricity are starting to emerge in the United States and Europe.

About Shell Hydrogen

Shell Hydrogen is a global business consisting of separate companies and other organizational entities within the Royal Dutch/Shell Group of companies. Shell Hydrogen was set up in 1999 to pursue and develop business opportunities related to hydrogen and fuel cells, and has its principal office in Amsterdam, the Netherlands.

About Johnson Matthey

Johnson Matthey is a specialty chemicals company focussed on precious metals, catalysts and other fine chemicals. Johnson Matthey has operations in 34 countries and employs around 6,500 people. Its products are sold across the world to a wide range of advanced technology industries. The company's fuel cell business, Johnson Matthey Fuel Cells is the world's leading producer of catalysts and catalysed components for fuel cells. It is expanding rapidly and currently employs more than 150 people across Europe, the USA and Japan.

For more information visit http://www.matthey.com/environment/fuelcell

About Mitsubishi Corporation

Mitsubishi Corporation (TSE: 8058) (US: MSBHY)is one of the world's most diverse enterprises, and Japan's largest sogo shosha, or trading company. Mitsubishi Corporation has decades of experience doing business around the world, experience that has made it more than just a leader in international trade. The company's extensive network and wide-ranging activities give it a decisive edge in gathering the timely, accurate market information vital to success. The company's 7 business groups--New Business Initiative, IT & Electronics Business, Fuels, Metals, Machinery, Chemicals and Living Essentials--work closely with clients to develop new business opportunities. Project coordination, sourcing of raw materials, capital investments and development of sales channels are just a few of the ways Mitsubishi Corporation creates value for business partners, customers and shareholders. For further information, please visit the Mitsubishi Corporation home page at: www.mitsubishi.co.jp

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