Wanxiang buys bankrupt battery maker A123


By Antony Ingram, Guest blogger / December 10, 2012

A123 Systems, the bankrupt battery maker which supplies Fisker Automotive and others, has finally found a buyer.

Chinese auto parts maker Wanxiang Group Corp. fought off a joint bid from U.S. parts company Johnson Controls Inc. and Japan's NEC Corp, with a bid of $256.6 million.

Reuters reports that A123's government business arm, which works with the U.S. Defense Department, has been separately sold to Navitas Systems for $2.25 million.

The sale to Wanxiang must now be approved by Delaware Bankruptcy Court judge Kevin Carey, at a hearing on Tuesday. 

Opposition to the sale may focus on approval from the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States--and some politicians and retired military leaders have already vocalized their concerns about the sale.

If the sale is approved, it will draw to a close a long sale process which has been ongoing since August. A bailout from the Chinese firm initially stalled when A123 couldn't meet certain criteria imposed by Wanxiang, which eventually led to the company's bankruptcy.

If A123 is in safer hands, electric automaker Fisker Automotive will be hoping production and supply quickly re-starts.

The luxury automaker has had to stall its own production due to short supply of battery packs--and the firm describes its inventory as "getting low".

Other vehicles supplied by A123 Systems include the Via Motors electric truck, the 2014 Chevrolet Spark EV, and BMW ActiveHybrid 3 and 5 models.