Struggling French hydrogen car maker Hopium has been placed in receivership, three months after putting the development of its only vehicle on the backburner due to financial difficulties.

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It is now under the protection of the Paris Commercial Court — with its debts frozen — for at least the next six months.

“Hopium announces the initiation of a judicial recovery procedure aimed at allowing the continuation of its operations, the settlement of its debts, and the reorganization of the company as part of a continuity plan that will be presented at the end of a 6-month observation period,” the Paris-based company said in a press release this morning.

“By judgment dated July 19th, the Paris Commercial Court has opened a judicial recovery procedure for HOPIUM for an initial 6 months (until January 19th, 2024), which may be extended for another 6 months.

“This procedure places HOPIUM under the protection of the Court by freezing all debts prior to July 19th. These will be repaid as part of the continuation plan that the Company intends to submit to the Court during the observation period.”

Hopium says that it will continue to focus its resources on developing its hydrogen fuel-cell stack in an apparent bid to generate income in the short term, rather than its Machina luxury hydrogen car — a strategy it unveiled in April.

The company has been marketing its high-performance hydrogen-powered Machina car since 2020, which is available for pre-order at a cost of €120,000 ($131,000) and is said to have a range of 1,000km. The Hopium website states that delivery of the Machina will start in 2025.

“The observation period will also allow the Company to continue contacts and discussions with potential industrial and commercial partners,” the press release states.

“Partners and suppliers who maintain their business relationships with the Company during the judicial recovery period will be paid promptly for upcoming services and deliveries. The Company commits to presenting a plan with the most favorable terms for its creditors in the shortest time frame provided by law.”

Yesterday, Hopium asked for the trading of its shares to be suspended on the Euronext Growth Paris exchange “pending the release of an upcoming press release”.

It has now asked for the trading of its shares to resume.

Hopium CEO Sylvain Laurent stated in April: “While keeping the Hopium Machina in sight, we want to prioritize the development of Hopium technology to capitalize on our expertise quickly.

“The needs are there in terms of professional and heavy mobility, and the infrastructure is developing rapidly.”