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Industry News: A123 Battery Maker Bankrupt!

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Lithium ion battery maker A123 Systems today said it has sold its automotive business to Johnson Controls and is filing for bankruptcy protection.

The moves are a change in strategy for the ailing Waltham, MA-based company, which in August said it will sell an 80 percent share to the auto parts division of Chinese conglomerate Wanxiang for $450 million.

Johnson Controls will acquire a significant set of assets for its $125 million investment, some of which were paid with federal aid. A123 Systems’ auto business includes its technology, two battery factories in Michigan, a cathode powder manufacturing facility in China, and A123’s stake in two auto parts suppliers in China. Johnson Controls also will put up $72.5 million so A123 can maintain operations during the sale.

http://www.forbes.co...-sell-off-next/

So how will this affect the auto makers who use their batteries such as Toyota, Ford, Nissan......

Sounds off on how you see this shaking out in the auto industry!


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The big question is what Johnson Controls will do with their purchase, and what about A123 made it unprofitable. My initial guess as to what will happen is that JC will continue production, but possibly at a higher cost to the manufacturers. However, if the battery business only made sense as long as gov't subsidies flowed, and if those subsidies are drying up, costs for the car manufacturers may become high enough to really hamper some of the push for hybrids & electrics. Time will tell.

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The big question is what Johnson Controls will do with their purchase, and what about A123 made it unprofitable. My initial guess as to what will happen is that JC will continue production, but possibly at a higher cost to the manufacturers. However, if the battery business only made sense as long as gov't subsidies flowed, and if those subsidies are drying up, costs for the car manufacturers may become high enough to really hamper some of the push for hybrids & electrics. Time will tell.

I am wondering what happened to the half of the $249 Million grant from the Gov that supposedly was not used yet.Is the company sitting on it, did the gov not give that half to them yet. How does a company that has been building battery packs for Toyota for so long not know how to keep at least a break even business plan? Where did the money go that caused them to do this?

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Just another case of poorly managed funds given out to the public sector.

I wish the Goverment would fire up NASA again and put power and battery projects throught them. We had some of the greatest minds in the world working for NASA and they would contract the private contractors to build and develope these systems. The companies then would take what they learned and apply it to the private sector.

Yes there was some waste but never on the scale we see today. Companies got paid for results too not just handed out money with no oversight.

I figure JC may take some of the things 123 has learned and developed and use it in their own products. They will have much less invested since they paid less for 123 and it will keep the development cost down. It is a win for JC but a loss for the tax payer.

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Chinese made batteries will be on their way soon...

Sorry, don't have a lot of hope for JC here....

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Johnson Controls has been on a bit of an aquisition bing the past 7 years, I wonder what their debt load is like. Might just be kicking the can here..

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There are positive and negative points to this.

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OCN, care to take your stab at the +s and -s

Positives:

JC brings out products based on A123 battery technology that they were not able to do themselves and no one else was willing to do as they did not want to pay a royalty to A123.

Auto Industry could gain here also as JC has major inroads here and could do a better job of selling certain technology bits into the auto industry better than A123 did.

Battery management could become better as JC mgmt devices get coupled with A123 battery technology.

Pure Economy of scale that JC can bring that A123 was not able to do.

Negatives:

Since A123 was moving production of products into China and as with any bankruptcy, security and control of Intellectual tends to get weaker, I can see china stealing A123 tech and putting it into their own products. Even with lawsuits, by the time things work their way through the courts, China companies will have figured out backward engineering ways to reproduce what A123 did and move on at a loss to JC and the Tax payers who funded the R&D.

JC could just sit on a portion of the technology as they might just want the patents but not really interested in doing anything with it. Sit and wait till they can sue someone who comes up with an identical idea and wants to use it.

Loss of all intellectual products due to having it in China rather than being produced here.

I actually see more positive out of this than negative at the moment.

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