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A settlement agreement has been reached by Apple Inc. and battery maker A123 Systems LLC to resolve a lawsuit that accuses Apple of poaching scientists to develop an electronic car. According to a May 11 filing in federal court in Boston by lawyers for A123, the parties have entered a deal, inked a term sheet, and are currently drafting a final agreement.
The filing didn’t indicate the terms of this agreement. The suit was filed in February, claiming that five former A123 workers (which include the head of its venture technologies division and three scientists) left to work for Apple’s car-battery division in breach of their agreement not to work for a competitor within a year of departing A123 Systems.
This lawsuit gives away a view of a portion of Apple’s product development plans, telling the public that experts in the car industry are being hired by the company. According to sources, Apple has been looking into car development and is hoping to start producing an electric vehicle by 2020 at the earliest.Read the entire article Apple inks settlement deal with A123 Systems over poaching case
Apple Inc. is exploring a possible resolution of a lawsuit wherein it allegedly poached employees from A123 Systems LLC amid reports that the tech giant has an ongoing project to develop an electric car. Apple has asked a federal judge in Boston, Massachusetts for more time to respond to A123’s request for a court order stopping Mujeeb Ijaz, one of its former employees, from breaking his employment agreement as well as preventing the California-based company from urging him to do so.
A123 also accused five of its former employees of breaching non-disclosure agreements as for working at Apple or planning to go. The lawsuit filed by A123 is providing a glimpse into Apple’s latest venture, indicating that the tech company was tapping engineers with automotive experience a year ago when recruiting A123’s employees.
The engineer in the lawsuit, Ijaz, founded A123’s Venture Technologies division that focused on materials research, cell product development and advanced concepts.Read the entire article Apple is seeking resolution of poaching lawsuit filed by A123 Systems
Lithium ion battery maker A123 Systems now has a new chief executive in the persona of Jason Forcier, who had been the president of its auto business. A123 also named Forcier as a member of its board, with the responsibility to oversee all battery and transportation business, product development and manufacturing around the world.
A123 filed for bankruptcy in October 2012 due to weaker-than-expected demand for hybrid vehicles as well as technical problems. Wanxiang Group parts maker Wanxiang Group acquired A123's auto-related assets for $257 million in January 2013. Forcier remarked in January that with Wanxiang's support, A123 would make investments in areas of growth, including batteries for hybrid and micro-hybrid vehicles. Auto business was expected to account for half of A123's sales this year, but its electric grid unit was seen to become its largest business in the next several years.
Forcier also disclosed in January that A123 is hoping to leverage its connection with Wanxiang into more business in China, where it currently operates via a joint venture with SAIC Motor Corp Ltd. When A123 reorganized, its transportation business retained the A123 Systems brand with Ed Kopkowski being appointed as president of the group.Read the entire article A123 Systems names Jason Forcier as new chief executive
B456 Systems Inc., the new name of collapsed battery maker A123 Systems Inc., has reached a settlement that reduces Fisker Automotive Inc.’s claims by 89 percent from $140 million to $15 million. According to court documents filed in Wilmington, Delaware, the settlement deal with the unsecured-creditors' committee will substantially reduce the carmaker’s claim resulting from a rejection of its supply agreement and alleged breach of warranty obligations.
The committee's lawyers said that the settlement deal will benefit all unsecured creditors. In a court filing, the committee's lawyers said that the reduction will have a substantial positive effect on the value of other unsecured claims. According to the filing, the committee analyzed Fisker’s proofs of claim and believes that the settlement represents a compromise that is the “best possible outcome" for B456's estate.
As a result of the settlement, Fisker's $48.7-million breach-of-warranty claim will drop to a $15-million unsecured claim, while its $91.2-million damages claim from the rejection of its supply agreement will be disallowed, court documents say. U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Kevin Carey approved A123's disclosure statement, which is an outline of its liquidation plan used by creditors to decide how to vote on the plan.Read the entire article A123 Systems (now B456 Systems) settlement cuts claims by Fisker to $15 million
The U.S. government gave its approval to China's largest auto parts maker to acquire A123 Systems Inc, a manufacturer of electric car batteries. Lawmakers have warned that this deal will permit the transfer of sensitive technology, which were developed using U.S. government funds. Several members of Congress and retired military leaders asked the U.S. committee to halt the sale since it endangers U.S. energy security.
A U.S. government committee on foreign investment had approved the sale of A123 to a U.S. unit of Wanxiang Group, the Chinese firm confirmed. Last December, Wanxiang agreed to pay $257 million for A123's automotive battery business and related assets in a bankruptcy auction where it beat out the U.S.-based company Johnson Controls Inc of Milwaukee.
However, the Committee on Foreign Investment in the U.S., a government body headed by the Treasury secretary, would still need to approve it before it can proceed. Wanxiang has now confirmed that the deal was approved by the CFIUS on Monday. Pin Ni, the president of Wanxiang America Corp, said that Wanxiang America is looking forward to finalizing the transaction and to continuing to cultivating the technologies that A123 has been developing.Read the entire article Unit of Wanxiang Group gets US approval to acquire A123 Systems
The short-term outlook of hybrid sports car maker Fisker Automotive may depend on the result of the bid of Chinese components maker Wanxiang Group to acquire collapsed US battery company A123 Systems. Fisker has not produced a car in six months, saying that it would not resume production until after A123, its battery supplier, wraps up a court-managed sale.
The Delaware Bankruptcy Court approved the $256.6 million sale of A123 to Wanxiang Group on December 11, 2012. However, the sales agreement still needs the approval of the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States. Fisker spokesman Roger Ormisher told Reuters that the carmaker plans to wait until Wanxiang takes full control of A123, after which it will get in contact with the Chinese firm to discuss a contract.
Ormisher said Fisker would resume Karma production once an agreement is reached with A123's new owner. Ormisher assured that until then, Fisker has a sufficient supply of cars, noting that the carmaker is not looking for a new battery supplier. Both A123 and Fisker received government financing to support green-technology development. However, Fisker’s $100,000-plus Karma model is built by contractor Valmet in Uusikaupunki, Finland.Read the entire article Fisker production on hold until A123 sale clears
Even as Wanxiang Group Co. won the bid to acquire most of the bankrupt assets of A123 Systems Inc. for $256.6 million, the rival bidder Johnson Controls Inc. still keeps its interest in A123's automotive assets (which include its plants in Livonia and Romulus). Alex Molinaroli, president of JCI's power solutions business unit, said that this is because the U.S. government could still move to nullify the bid of Wanxiang (China's largest auto supplier).
The U.S. Department of Energy, which has given $132 million of a $249.1 million federal grant to A123, reasoned that it has liens on the property and equipment. And so, the Committee on Foreign Investment in the U.S. would first need to approve Wanxiang’s bid for Waltham, Mass.-based A123.
The Chinese supplier wasn’t able to secure CIFIUS' approval on a $465 million pre-bankruptcy agreement to purchase 80% of A123, which compelled an insolvent A123 to enter bankruptcy last October. Molinaroli said that it appears that if the government was ever going to approve Wanxiang’s bid, it should have occurred before bankruptcy so that they would have been able to avoid the mess.Read the entire article Johnson Control still interested in A123 System although Wanxiang Group won the auction
A123 won’t be given the remaining half of the $249 million grant from the U.S. Energy Department. A department official pointed out the battery maker’s bankruptcy and acquisition by a Chinese auto parts supplier. In the past weekend, the auction for majority of the assets of A123 was won by China's Wanxiang Group.
A123 manufactures lithium ion batteries for electric cars. The department official asked to remain anonymous since the proceedings are ongoing. He clarified that all parties who participated in the bidding for A123 knew about this condition. A123 had at one time been tagged by the Obama administration as a success but it struggled with the low demand for electric cars and some technical failures.
The grant for A123 is part of the Obama administration's $2 billion stimulus initiative to give domestic battery manufacturing a boost. In 2010, Energy Secretary Steven Chu visited one of its plants. The financial problems of A123 were later used by Republicans to criticize the administration's clean energy investments. A123 had gotten around $133 million of its $249 million grant as of October when it filed for bankruptcy protection.Read the entire article United States not planning to give A123 rest of grant
The Chinese government agreed to a plan by local auto parts maker Wanxiang Group Corp. to acquire bankrupt US battery maker A123 Systems Inc. Wanxiang’s plans, however, depend on the results of an auction set in December 2012 as well as the approval from the US government. A123, which produces lithium ion batteries for electric cars, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in October 2012 with a plan to divest its battery operations to Johnson Controls for $125 million.
The planned sale, however, hinges on whether better offers are received at the auction next month. Wanxiang has disclosed that it intends to place a bid for A123. In a statement posted at its Web site, China's National Development and Reform Commission – which approves major overseas acquisitions by Chinese companies – confirmed that the green light was given to Wanxiang to make a bid for A123.
The US government, however, must approve any deal for A123, since the battery maker was granted a $249 million financing from the Energy Department. Republican Senators John Thune and Chuck Grassley have raised concerns about Wanxiang's plans to buy A123's battery business, saying that military and taxpayer-funded technology should not be allowed to be controlled by foreign companies. The Energy Department has emphasized that none of the government's grant would be allowed to finance facilities outside the US.Read the entire article China approves plan by Wanxiang Group to submit a bid for A123
Fisker Automotive Inc. has asked a bankruptcy judge to postpone the auction of A123 Systems Inc., a U.S.-based electric-car battery maker. Gregg Galardi, the attorney of the luxury hybrid automaker, has filed court papers in Wilmington, Del., to state that if the sales process is rushed, it will hurt the estates and deny creditors of value that may be encountered through higher and superior offers.
He also said that Fisker will file an “emergency motion” to challenge the so-called debtor-in-possession loan. He declined to reveal details. Court papers indicate that Fisker is asking to extend the bid deadline, auction date and related dates and deadlines in the bidding procedures request by a minimum of 30 days.
A123, which was given a $249 million federal grant, said it will sell its automotive-business assets to Johnson Controls Inc. in a $125 million deal. The deal is subject to other potential offers in a bankruptcy auction. In Chapter 11 documents, A123 (which is based in Waltham, Mass.) posted assets of $459.8 million and debt of $376 million as of Aug. 31. According to court documents, A123 is scheduled to go back to court next week to get approval of what remains of a $72.5 million loan.Read the entire article Fisker asks bankruptcy judge to postpone the auction of A123 Systems
A123 Systems Inc. may not have sufficient cash to finance operations and may need to file for bankruptcy protection, the lithium ion battery maker disclosed in a filing with the US Securities and Exchange Commission. A123 Systems expects to be in default on certain material debt agreements on Oct. 16, 2012. According to the filing, A123 Systems does not expect to be on time with the interest payment due Oct. 15, 2012 on $143.75 million of notes expiring 2016.
The company also does not expect to be on time with a $2.76 million payment due Oct. 15, 2012, in outstanding 6 percent notes. The company gave no assurance that it could avoid restructuring, reorganization, or a bankruptcy filing. A123 Systems was severely hit by liquidity problems and currently needs fresh funds after it was clobbered by the cost of the recall of batteries for Fisker Automotive Inc.
The lithium ion battery maker disclosed in August 2012 that it was holding discussions with Wanxiang Group Corp., over a possible financing in exchange for a majority stake in A123 Systems. The company said that Wanxiang has plans to invest up to $465 million in A123, in return for an 80-percent stake in the company.Read the entire article A123 Systems warns of severe liquidity problems, possible bankruptcy
A123 Systems Inc. told investors that it has enough cash to fund operations for just the next five months. It’s a shocking development for the battery maker, which used to be a leading green technology firm. This makes the problems more difficult in a sector that’s already struggling and long on government loans.
The Obama administration gave the company a $249 million grant as part of a program to develop advanced lithium ion batteries. In documents filed with U.S. regulators, the company said that it "expects to have approximately four to five months of cash to support its ongoing operations" according to its recent monthly spending average.
Its shares declined by nearly 11% even with A123's announcement of moves to increase $39 million. Previously, A123 has raised concerns about its viability because of expected sharp losses over the next several quarters. Analysts said that they weren’t surprised about the warning. CRT Capital Group analyst David Epstein said that the stock and warrants proceeds of $9 million that the company anticipates from its July 5 offering could provide the firm with another half month or so of runway.Read the entire article A123 Systems has about five months of cash left to fund operations
A123 Systems Inc. is planning to open 400 new jobs at two of its plants in suburban Detroit by November even with rising financial troubles and an automotive battery recall that costs almost $67 million. According to Jason Forcier, the vice president of A123's automotive solutions group, it will hire 100 workers for every month for the upcoming four months for its plants in Livonia and Romulus for its power-grid and commercial transportation businesses. When A123 was at its peak in 2011, it had 1,020 employees in Southeast Michigan. Its workforce has now dropped to 781 employees. A123, the Waltham, Mass.-based lithium battery maker, announced the recall last March after finding that its automated welding machine in Livonia was wrong calibrated.
This defect was detected during a test by Consumer Reports when the battery of a Fisker Karma plug-in hybrid had failed. It was found out later that five automotive customers received batteries that have potentially defective cells. During a conference call last month, CEO David Vieau told analysts that A123 will complete shipments of replacement batteries during the next several quarters. It’s expected that A123 will spend $66.8 million to replace the defective batteries. In the last quarter that ended March 31, A123 recorded a $125 million loss. To remedy this, A123 was able to raise $50 million in senior unsecured convertible notes and warrants from institutional buyers.
The company’s filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission indicated that without added funding, there’s “substantial doubt” on whether the company will be able to continue. However, Forcier is confident that the company’s power-grid and commercial transportation businesses would more than offset the problems with electric-vehicle batteries. He said that the EV business experienced “some pullback” and was further aggravated by the funding problem. He said that the company is considering all of its strategic options but then the company will proceed with creating new jobs.Read the entire article A123 Systems will add 400 new jobs at two of its plants in suburban Detroit
A123 Systems Inc. disclosed in a filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission on May 30, 2012, that there was "substantial doubt" on its ability to financially survive as it expects to post deep losses for the next several quarters. The company’s recent disclosure is in sharp contrast with its financial situation in 2009. During that time, the Lithium-ion battery maker received around $249 million from the Obama administration as part of a program to induce battery development. The same year, A123 Systems went public and its shares soared 50 percent on the first day of trading on the Nasdaq.
A123 Systems said in the disclosure that it may take action for cash increase and is exploring "other strategic alternatives." It added that it could go to capital markets for funds. However, the company said that there is no assurance that it will be able to secure such financing on favorable terms. It added that there is also no assurance that it could further cut costs in a way that the company could continue to operate.
The company’s losses is largely attributed to its recall of defective batteries produced at its suburban Detroit plant. A123 discovered the defect in the batteries after a Fisker Karma plug-in hybrid with an A123 battery failed during a test by Consumer Reports magazine. To rectify the defects, A123 has to spend almost $67 million and has to rebuild its inventory. A123 has contracts to produce batteries for the Fisker Karma, the BMW hybrid 3- and 5-Series cars and the Chevy Spark due in 2013.Read the entire article A123 Systems disclosed substantial doubt on finances
Within the next several quarters, A123 Systems’ production capacity of lithium-ion batteries will be constrained as it continues to recover from a recall of defective battery packs -- a major factor in its record quarterly loss. A123 Systems said that it has recognized and rectified the root cause of the faulty batteries and was shipping replacement products customers who are affected.
In a statement, A123 CEO David Vieau said the company aims to provide replacement products “as quickly as possible." He said that the company’s customer pipeline stayed strong. Just last week, A123 cautioned that there would be a massive first-quarter loss because of the recall.
It also said that a lot of the production that would have raised revenue this year will be diverted to replace the potentially defective cells. The company said that recalling the battery packs would cost $66.8 million. The Obama administration had granted $249 million to A123 as part of a program to develop advanced batteries. A123 was a start-up at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. It has announced that it is now resuming production at its suburban Detroit plant but this will be regulated.Read the entire article A123 Systems fixes battery problem
The A123 Systems Inc. expects to incur a net loss of about $125 million in the first quarter of 2012 – a 133% increase compared to the same period last year, according to a filing submitted by the company to the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. A123, which produces lithium-ion batteries, said that the recall of potentially defective battery packs had contributed to the loss.
The company was granted a $249 million grant from the Obama administration. As part of this program, some advanced batteries will be used. The cost of recalling the battery packs is about $66.8 million. Its quarterly loss is attributed to the recall as well as the "low factory utilization" of A123's plant in suburban Detroit, which the 2009 U.S. Energy Department grant helped pay for.
A123 Systems, which had its beginnings from laboratories at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, estimates that it will achieve a first-quarter revenue of $10.9 million, about 40% lower than the previous year. The spokesman said that further details will be unveiled on the May 15 conference call when A123 releases its fuller financial results. A123 informed the SEC that the low plant use contributed to the reduced gross margins on products sold since the anticipated cost savings related to volume production have yet to be realized. Other factors that added to the loss were expenses for research and development and engineering as well as the hiring of new employees.Read the entire article A123 Systems expects a first-quarter net loss of $125 million
A123 Systems Inc. and the U.S. Department of Energy have agreed to extend the contract over a $249 million grant for a factory in Michigan, according to a U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission filing last Wednesday. A123 now has two more years or until December 2014 to fully take advantage of this grant from the administration of Obama to support advanced battery development and generate jobs in the U.S.
A123 spokesman Dan Borgasano said that it was given the grant in 2009 and had until the end of 2012 to fully make use of the grant. Borgasano added that with the extension, A123 can continue on its growth path in Michigan. A123 got a $127 million of the DOE grant at the end of 2011. What A123 had to do was to match at least a portion of the money that the U.S. government provided.
What usually happens is that the recipients of these grants get reimbursements for their expenses on approved projects. In the past few months, some setbacks have hurt A123's financial position and its stock dropped by over 40% so far this year.Read the entire article A123 Systems gets two more years to use the U.S. Department of Energy grant
An analyst at Deutsche Bank said that A123 Systems Inc. may not be able to raise fresh cash and could lose contracts related to a recent recall of defective packs sent to customers. Dan Galves, a New York-based analyst at Deutsche Bank, wrote in a research note that $55 million that the company estimates will cost to replace the flawed battery packs and modules "represents a severe impact" on cash reserves. Galves wrote in its research note that they no longer have enough confidence that AONE, A123 Systems’ trading symbol, could bring in sufficient capital without massive equity dilution, and/or continue to bring in new transactions.
Galves cut his rating to hold from buy today. Galves noted that recent quality issues could raise concern on the company’s capacity to produce at high volumes, adding that this could lead to either customer defections or difficulty in getting new deals. A123 announced this week that it commenced manufacturing replacement modules for customers like Fisker Automotive Inc., and will deliver them this week. A123 said that the defective batteries came from its Livonia plant in Mich.
The Waltham, Mass.-based company said that the faulty calibration of one of the four welding machines at Livonia plant resulted to the misalignment of a component in some cells, which could cause electrical short and lead to either premature failure of the battery or decreased performance and battery life.Read the entire article Deutsche Bank analyst doubts A123 Systems’ ability to raise capital
A123 Systems has started to replace the lithium-ion battery modules and packs that may fail because of a manufacturing defect, a problem that had led to the notorious shutdown of the Fisker Karma luxury sedan while it was being tested by Consumer Reports magazine. A123 said that it found defects in certain cells produced at its plant in suburban Detroit that could result in the premature failure of the battery module or pack that leads to a decrease in performance and reduced battery life, according to CEO David Vieau.
He told reporters during a conference call that this company, which began as a start-up at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, started to build replacement modules and packs.
It expects to start shipping them to five affected corporate customers this week. Vieau said that A123 hasn’t heard of accidents or injuries due to this defect. He said that safety is unaffected by this defect. But he admitted that the defect was the reason for the shutdown of the Karma electric car last March 7 while it was being tested by consumer magazine Consumer Reports.Read the entire article A123 Systems starts to replace Fisker Karma battery packs
A123 Systems Inc. has identified a "potential safety issue" in the batteries that it supplies to Fisker Automotive Inc., the battery maker's CEO David Vieau revealed in a memo posted in its investor-relations website. The manufacturer of batteries for electric cars said that the hose clamps in the batteries' internal cooling system were "misaligned." This may lead to a leak in the coolant, causing an electrical short circuit.
Vieau also confirmed that repairs have begun on the fewer than 50 cars affected. He added that the company anticipates a "minimal financial impact." He further stated that the company's relationship with Fisker "remains strong."
California-based Fisker is ramping up deliveries of $102,000 Karma plug-in hybrid sedans in the U.S. Shipments have started with 1,200 units "in the pipeline" and 225 delivered to dealers, CEO Henrik Fisker revealed in a December 21 interview.Read the entire article A123 Systems to fix misaligned clamps in batteries supplied to Fisker
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