Ballard Power Systems Inc. shares moved higher on Thursday after the company confirmed it is selling its automotive fuel cell business to Daimler AG and Ford Motor Co.

Ballard shares were up almost six per cent, gaining29 cents to reach $5.28on the TSX.

Vancouver-based Ballard is selling the fuel cell to the automakers in exchange for the 34.3 million Ballard sharesthe two companies had held.

"This transaction will enable Ballard to concentrate on growth in fuel cell applications, which provide clean energy solutions in commercial markets," said John Sheridan, Ballard's president and CEO.

"It also lowers Ballard's risk profile by addressing the realities of the high cost and long timeline for automotive fuel cell commercialization," he said.

Roughly 113 Ballard employees who work primarily in research and technology development will be transfered to a new company that will be managed by Daimler and Ford andwill be located at Ballard's facilities. The employees to be transferred represent about 20 per cent of Ballard's workforce.

Daimler and Ford will contribute $60 million to the new private company and Ballard will invest $60 million. Daimler will hold 50.1 per cent of the new firm, while Ford will hold 30 per cent, and Ballard the remainder.

Ballard also said it lost $16 million US in its third quarter on revenue of $17.6 million US. During the same quarter last year, Ballard lost $17.9 million US on revenue of $11.5 million US.