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Fisker asks bankruptcy judge to postpone the auction of A123 Systems

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 warns of severe liquidity problems, possible bankruptcy

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

AC Cars saves Zenos brand from extinction

British startup Zenos, which entered bankruptcy administration earlier this year is now back in business. The Norfolk-based sports car manufacturer was bought by a consortium of investors headed by AC Cars, another British brand. The consortium has acquired all of its assets including Zenos’ intellectual property, ten remaining cars assembled, as well as its Wymondham headquarters.

Zenos Cars was founded in 2012 by Ansar Ali and Mark Edwards ---both were formerly connected to two famous British automotive companies--Lotus and Caterham. The British automaker started out at Hethel Engineering Center with a small lineup of lightweight carbon-fiber sports cars including the Zenos E10. Using Ford EcoBoost for its engine, the Zenos E10 sports car is also made with an aluminum and composite chassis. Eventually, the company started experiencing financial setbacks due to high production cost.

AC Cars Limited meanwhile continues to manufacture the Cobra also known as the MkVI roadster or Shelby Cobra. Only recently, the British brand increased its lineup by building a right hand drive version of the iconic sports car.

Read the entire article AC Cars saves Zenos brand from extinction

British sports car startup Zenos Cars goes financially bust

Remember Zenos Cars, a British carmaker that specializes in designing and building lightweight and high-performance sports cars? If you are wondering how the company is faring with their E10 lightweight car, Zenos hasn’t been doing well and is, in fact, in dire financial straits. The severity of its financial problems has the company compelled to enter into administration, a process that is similar to bankruptcy protection.

According to a notice on the carmaker’s Web site, the company was placed under administration on January 16, 2017, with Irvin Milton Cohen and Gary Paul Shankland -- both of Begbies Traynor (London) LLP -- being appointed as Joint Administrators. Cohen and Shankland are now acting as Zenos agents without any personal liability. As Joint Administrators, Cohen and Shankland are now in charge of the management of the carmaker’s affairs, business and property.

Zenos’ humble beginnings can be traced to May 2012, when it was founded by Ansar Ali and Mark Edwards. Edwards and Ali were both employees at Lotus, and then at Caterham. However, Ali left Zenos in 2015 and joined the ranks at McLaren – although he remained a shareholder. According to his LinkedIn account, Ali is now the managing director for McLaren Special Operations (MSO) at McLaren Automotive. Edwards is currently Zenos’ chief executive, although his management powers are now gone.

Read the entire article British sports car startup Zenos Cars goes financially bust

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

A Dutch appeals court has declared the bankruptcy of financially troubled Dutch supercar maker Spyker "null and void with retrospective effect." A local court placed the company in bankruptcy on Dec. 18 by a Dutch court after the bridging funds promised during creditor protection failed to materialize. Spyker only received the funds 11 days later and then filed an appeal on bankruptcy ruling.

The nullification of the bankruptcy declaration means that Spyker is now back under the protection of the "moratorium of payment," which is similar to the Chapter 11 protection in the United States.

With the matter resolved, Spyker chief executive Victor Muller said he plans to push ahead with development of the B6 Venator entry-level luxury sports car as well as merge with a US-based maker of high performance electric aircraft.

Read the entire article Dutch appeals court cancels bankruptcy of Spyker NV

A Dutch district court has declared Spyker NV bankrupt, placing the financially troubled supercar maker under court-supervised receivership. Also placed under receivership are Spyker’s wholly owned subsidiaries Spyker Automobielen and Spyker Events & Branding. The court-appointed administrator for Spyker is now tasked to guide the carmaker through bankruptcy proceedings, the Dutch company said in a statement.

The carmaker said that the court ruled to declare it bankruptcy after a planned bridge funding failed to reach it on time. Spyker founder and chief executive Victor Muller has vowed to revive the company and this time around, he said that his company’s bankruptcy “is not the end.”

He remarked that he will “relentlessly endeavor” to revive Spyker as soon as practically possible. He said that once Spyker is revived, it would merge with a high performance electric aircraft maker and develop electric vehicles with “disruptive sustainable technology.”

Read the entire article Dutch court sends Spyker NV into bankruptcy

Back in August 2013, Wiesmann filed for insolvency at the Muenster court in Germany but by the end of the year the company announced that it found an investor, so everything looked good for the well-known carmaker. Today, we found out that Wiesmann closed its doors and that all its 125 employees were sent home, according to Dutch magazine Autovisie.

According to one of the employees, there were several investor calls but the money still didn’t come. As a result, Wiesmann closed its factory and the maintenance shop, which means that owners will have to take their cars to a BMW dealer as all of them are using BMW technology.

For those who don’t know, Wiesmann was founded in 1988, but in 2009 the first problems appeared as the company wanted to expand its factory in Dulmen and spent several million euros.

Read the entire article Wiesmann closes its doors as it failed to found an investor

General Motors could potentially reduce its product liability relating to a recall of around 1.6 million vehicles caused by a faulty ignition if the carmaker would invoke the terms of its bankruptcy restructuring.  The terms of GM’s restructuring tell that the carmaker’s product liability extends only to accidents that happened after the reorganized company – the new GM – emerged from bankruptcy in July 2009.

Plaintiffs injured before July 2009 would have to seek redress from the defunct shell of GM – the old GM -- in Bankruptcy Court, where the chances of gaining compensation is slim.

GM's original restructuring plan would have rendered the carmaker immune to liability claims from all of its pre-bankruptcy cars, including the oldest models covered by the ignition switch recall, like the Chevrolet Cobalt, Pontiac G5 and Saturn Ion. But due to intense discussions with state attorneys general and consumer groups such as the Center for Auto Safety, GM changed the terms.

Read the entire article GM execs could invoke bankruptcy terms to reduce recall liability

Lawyers for Fisker Automotive Holdings Inc. have managed to convinced United States Bankruptcy Judge Kevin Gross in Wilmington that the carmaker’s Chapter 11 should proceed at an unusually rapid pace. Gross began a Tuesday hearing by suggesting that Fisker should slow down its plan to sell its assets to Hong Kong tycoon Richard Li and give creditors four more weeks to get hold of the situation, saying that it should “allow time for the creditors' committee to continue and complete its investigations."

Fisker filed for bankruptcy on Nov. 22, 2013, while a creditors' committee was established on Thursday. The carmaker has not built a car in almost 18 months and Gross said that there was no business that has to be rescued via bankruptcy. "This is not the case of a melting iceberg or a burning omelet or anything of that nature," he said.

Attorneys for both Fisker and its creditors beg to disagree. In fact, no one took up the judge's suggestion to slow the process.  said Sunni Beville, a lawyer at Brown Rudnick who represents the committee of unsecured creditors, remarked that the creditors' committee agreed that Fisker’s timeline is the “right timeline."

Read the entire article Judge okays quick Chapter 11 proceedings for Fisker

Fisker Automotive has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection as part of its restructuring plan. Investor group Hybrid Tech Holdings LLC is acquiring Fisker's assets and is providing $8 million in debtor-in-possession financing to fund the carmaker's sales and restructuring. The United States Department of Energy sold its green-technology loan in Fisker to Hybrid Tech for $25 million.

Hybrid Tech bought one loan granted by the Department of Energy that has an initial worth of $168 million. The sale allowed DOE to recoup around $53 million on its $192 million investment in Fisker. Marc Beilinson, Fisker's chief restructuring officer, said in a statement that after evaluating and pursuing all other alternatives, the sale to Hybrid and the related Chapter 11 filing is the best alternative for maximizing the carmaker's value for "the benefit of all stakeholders."

He said that under Hybrid's leadership, Fisker's technology and product development capability "will remain a guiding force in the evolution of the automotive industry." Hybrid Technology said in a statement that the purchase of the government loan was the first step toward resuming production and sale of the Fisker and the development of other hybrid-electric vehicles.

Read the entire article Fisker files for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection

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

German retro-style sports carmaker Wiesmann filed for insolvency at the Muenster court in Germany on Aug. 14, 2013 and is looking for strategic partners and investors. Wiesmann said in a statement that operations its headquarters in Duelmen, Germany, will still continue. Wiesmann said that Rolf Haferkamp will still sit as its chief executive, leading efforts to restructure the financially troubled carmaker.

Wiesmann was established quarter of a century ago by brothers Martin and Friedhelm Wiesmann, who developed the first prototype in the cellar of their home. Wiesmann has a workforce of 110 people and has sold over 1,600 of its hand-crafted sports vehicles in Europe, the Middle East and Asia.

Stefan Bratzel, director of the Center of Automotive Management at the University of Applied Sciences in Bergisch Gladbach, Germany, told Bloomberg that it is difficult for niche companies to keep up with innovation and economies of scale in the auto industry.

Read the entire article Wiesmann filed for insolvency in Muenster, Germany

The city of Detroit has filed for bankruptcy, becoming the most populous city in the United States to do so. The city is now seeking court protection from creditors as it tries to get rid a budget deficit and reduce its long-term debt. Michigan Governor Rick Snyder has authorized the city's emergency manager, Kevyn Orr, to file the petition. He said in a letter that the bankruptcy petition is “a last resort to return” Detroit to “financial and civic health for its residents and taxpayers."

Census data show that the median household income in Detroit was less than $28,000, compared with $49,000 across Michigan, with over 36 percent of residents lived in poverty as of 2011. The median home value of $71,000 in the city was barely half the $137,000 value across Michigan.

The city listed assets and debt of over $1 billion in a Chapter 9 petition filed in court in Detroit. Chapter 9 of the U.S. Bankruptcy Code is reserved for municipalities, with rules distinct from that of Chapter 11.

Read the entire article Detroit succumbs to bankruptcy, seeks court protection

Lio Energy Systems Holdings and Miles Electric Vehicles, affiliates of collapsed American electric car maker Coda Automotive, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection Tuesday. The green companies are seeking to have their cases jointly administered with those of parent Coda Holdings and its affiliates. One of the main reasons for the companies’ demise is the slow embrace of consumers in the United States on electric vehicles, mainly due to their high prices, insufficient charging infrastructure and worries with driving range.

These hurdles have made the green car market a more difficult place to succeed. Coda, which filed for bankruptcy on May 1, 2013, and its affiliates were not the only ones suffering this debacle. Another green carmaker Fisker Automotive Inc. might take a similar path after it was disclosed to be seeking a buyer after hiring bankruptcy advisers.

Large carmakers who have invested heavily in green cars like General Motors, Ford, Nissan and Honda are also feeling the heat of slow sales of electric vehicles.  Lio Energy Systems is described in court filings as a direct subsidiary of Coda Holdings, while Miles Electric Vehicles is a direct subsidiary of Lio Energy.

Read the entire article Two Coda affiliates filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection

The United States Bankruptcy Court for the District of Delaware has approved a plan by electric carmaker Coda Automotive to sell its assets for $25 million to a group of lenders led by Fortress Investment Group. The transaction entails payments of $1.7 million in cash, while the rest will be paid through a "credit bid," in which Fortress will bid for Coda’s assets using debt owed instead of cash.

In its bankruptcy petition filed on May 1, 2013, Coda said it is exiting the car business to concentrate on the development and sale of energy storage systems through subsidiary Coda Energy. In a statement, Coda said the court’s approval of the sale will allow it to emerge in a stronger position to develop its core technology, forge stronger relationships with partners, and allow it to execute its business plan in the “growing energy-storage sector."

Two Coda affiliates --  Lio Energy Systems Holdings and Miles Electric Vehicles – recently filed for chapter 11 bankruptcy protection and are seeking to have their cases jointly administered with those of Coda Holdings and its affiliates, including Coda Automotive.

Read the entire article US bankruptcy court approves asset sale plan of Coda Automotive

Sources say that Fisker is preparing to file Chapter 11 and that this may take place within the next few days. It’s believed that Fisker’s lawyers have readied the bankruptcy documents and that options will be discussed on Tuesday at a meeting to be attended by Fisker's board of directors.

The source said that the directors, who have not given up on a potential sale, are likely to choose the best time for a possible Chapter 11 bankruptcy filing at that time. In the past several months, the relationship between the DOE and Fisker has been tense.

The top Fisker executives have been ineffectively trying to draw in buyers, primarily in China and Europe, to hinder bankruptcy. The source said that the government hopes to put a distance between it and Fisker's financial struggles so that the next DOE secretary won’t have to handle the problem.

Read the entire article Fisker preparing to file Chapter 11 within the next few days

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