A123 Systems Inc. (AONE), the electric car battery maker that received a $249.1 million federal grant, filed for bankruptcy protection and said it would sell its automotive business assets to Johnson Controls Inc. (JCI)
The filing may fuel a debate over government financing of alternative-energy and transportation businesses. Federal grants and loans to companies including A123, Fisker Automotive Inc. and Tesla Motors Inc. (TSLA) have drawn scrutiny from congressional Republicans following the September 2011 bankruptcy filing of solar-panel maker Solyndra LLC two years after it received a $535 million loan guarantee from the U.S. Energy Department.
A123, which received a $249.1 million federal grant in 2009 to build U.S. factory capacity, needed a financial lifeline after struggling with costs from a recall of batteries supplied to Fisker, the plug-in hybrid luxury carmaker. A123 announced in August that it was working on a deal with Wanxiang Group Corp., China’s largest auto-parts maker, for financing in exchange for a majority ownership stake.
A123 has used $132 million of the $249.1 million grant awarded by the U.S. in 2009 toward building the two Michigan factories, the Energy Department said today in a posting on its website. A123 was required to spend up to one dollar of its funds for every incentive dollar received from the government, according to regulatory filings. The company also received a $6 million grant from the George W. Bush administration in 2007...
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Via Billy Corben