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Energy Department finds buyer for Fisker Automotive, report says

The US Department of Energy will award Fisker Automotive's $168 million loan to an investor group led by Hong Kong tycoon Richard Li, Reuters reports. With further cash injections to pay outstanding bills, though, it appears that Fisker Automotive may still be at risk of bankruptcy.

Allison Joyce/Reuters/File
The Fisker Automotive electric Atlantic sedan is seen during its unveiling ahead of the 2012 International Auto Show in New York last year.

Fisker Automotive may have a new savior.

The U.S. Department of Energy will award Fisker's $168 million loan to an investor group led by Hong Kong tycoon Richard Li, Reuters reports.

According to Reuters, buying the loan would allow Li--an early Fisker investor--to restructure the company himself, unencumbered by the obligations of the DoE funds.

With further cash injections to pay outstanding bills, though, it appears that the company may still be at risk of bankruptcy. 

Last month, the DoE said it would sell off its Fisker loan "after exhausting any realistic possibility for a sale" that would allow the agency to recoup the full value of its investment.

The auction took place last Friday, but the Department is still finalizing details of the sale and has not yet announced the buyer.

Fisker has not built any of its range-extended luxury electric sedan, the Karma, since July of 2012.

If details are completed, Li will beat out two other main contenders for ownership of Fisker.

The German Fritz Nol group had submitted a signed offer for Fisker last month; GreenCar Reports broke that news.

AutoBild reported that the group's bid was an offer of just $25 million, although this was not independently confirmed.

The other group was a coalition of Chinese auto parts supplier Wanxiang and former General Motors executive Bob Lutz. 

Lutz's VL Automotive plans to build a V-8-powered Karma called the Destino.

The exact value of Li's bid is not known, but bidders reportedly had to put up at least $30 million.

The DoE also required bidders to include a plan to promote the manufacturing and engineering of green cars in the United States.

Fisker had discussed producing the mid-size Atlantic sedan at a former GM plant in Delaware, but development on this second model was halted last year.

Karma production was halted in July 2012, with 2,000-plus cars built.

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