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Update: Bankrupt green crony A123 gets a last-minute lifeline

By Michelle Malkin  •  October 17, 2012 10:01 AM


We told you yesterday about stimulus-subsidized eco-boondoggle A123’s debt default announcement bankruptcy filing. Turns out it was elaborately orchestrated to induce a rescue by another big green energy interest:

Fisker Automotive’s roller-coaster ride took another few steep turns Tuesday when the manufacturer of the battery pack that powers its electric cars filed for bankruptcy in a Wilmington court, then quickly fell into the arms of a savior.

A123 Systems, based in Waltham, Mass., but incorporated in Delaware, said it was forced to seek protection from its creditors in U.S. Bankruptcy Court after it ran short of the cash needed to make an interest payment Monday on tens of millions of dollars of debt.

But soon after the filing, news of a lifeline for A123 emerged when giant energy technology company Johnson Controls agreed to buy A123’s auto business, including its battery technology and manufacturing plants, for $125 million. Johnson Controls operates an auto aftermarket battery plant in Middletown.

The bankruptcy filing, A123 eventually acknowledged, had been done in order to “facilitate the transaction process” with Johnson Controls. With the deal in place, A123 is expected to continue fulfilling contracts for its automotive products, with the help of $72.5 million in new financing from Johnson Controls.


Under the deal, Johnson will get A123’s automotive business assets, including all of its automotive technology, products and customer contracts, its facilities in Livonia and Romulus, Mich., its cathode powder manufacturing facilities in China and A123’s equity interest in Shanghai Advanced Traction Battery Systems Co., A123’s joint venture with Shanghai Automotive.

What will happen to A123 employees? Mum’s the word. Via AP:

Johnson Controls planned to keep the factories running but said it was too early to give details about A123 employees or customers. A123 said it expects to continue operations as it moves toward the sale to Johnson Controls. The company said it is in talks to sell its grid, commercial, government and other operations that weren’t purchased by Johnson Controls.

The company was to supply batteries for the new all-electric Chevrolet Spark subcompact from General Motors Co. It also has a contract with BMW AG.

Will Obama have anything to say about A123’s outsourced jobs to China? Stay tuned…

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