Chinese billionaire to scoop up failing car battery maker that got $240M from feds

A struggling Massachusetts-based company that makes batteries for electric cars and got $240 million in stimulus money is being saved from bankruptcy by a Chinese billionaire who could move operations overseas.

A123 Systems received a $241.1-million grant from the Obama administration three years ago and more than $125 million in State of Michigan tax credits in the hopes that the company would create jobs, while leading the country away from conventional gas-guzzling vehicles and toward clean energy. 

But the lithium ion battery maker is now poised to hand over the reins to Wanxiang Group, a Chinese firm, which agreed in a tentative deal last August to invest up to $450 million so that it can take over as much as 80 percent of the company.

A123 Systems supplies batteries to customers, including California luxury carmaker Fisker Automotive. The deal with Wanxiang Group — owned by Chinese billionaire Lu Guanqiu — also raises the question of whether the manufacturer will be forced to move to China. A representative from A123 Systems did not return a request for comment on the matter.

Pike Research analyst John Gartner told the Detroit Free Press that such a scenario is highly probable.

Full article: Chinese billionaire to scoop up failing car battery maker that got $240M from feds (Fox News)

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