Hearing to approve Fisker sale to Hybrid Tech set January 3

Article by Anita Panait, on November 29, 2013

The sale of collapsed hybrid-car maker Fisker may materialize by Jan. 3, 2013, under a schedule recently approved by U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Kevin Gross. Gross approved on Tuesday a faster-than-normal sale process for Fisker, which filed for bankruptcy protection on Nov. 22, 2013 in Wilmington, Del. While Chapter 11 of the U.S. Bankruptcy Code usually requires companies to try organize an auction before holding an asset sale.

"It is unusual to have, obviously, a sale without bidding procedures" and an auction, Gross said. However, Fisker claimed that it and federal officials conducted an "extensive" marketing effort before the bankruptcy was filed, according to court papers. U.S. Department of Energy held in October an auction for a $168.5 million loan it provided to Fisker, which was won by an affiliate of Hybrid Tech Holdings LLC.

At the hearing on Jan. 3, 2014, Fisker will ask Gross to allow Hybrid Tech to exchange the debt it is owed for the carmaker’s assets. The hybrid-car maker will ask Gross to approve its liquidation plan, which may get rid of potential creditor lawsuits.

On the other hand, Fisker’s former suppliers are worried that the case may proceed so quickly that potential lawsuits may be eliminated without considering the amount to be raised to pay creditors, according to William Baldiga, an attorney with Brown Rudnick LLP.

Fisker attorney Ryan Preston Dahl told Gross that for Fisker’s sale to succeed, the liquidation plan and the sale should be implemented at the same time. Gross set a hearing on Dec. 10 to decide whether a disclosure statement has ample information for creditors to decide whether to contest the liquidation plan.

For Fisker Automotive, the Karma is not simply the first car released by the company. This is also a good example of how the whole automotive industry can move forward. Then again, it was created by making use of Fisker’s very own philosophy known as Sustainable and Accountable Design. With this, the brand hopes to be recognized as an auto manufacturer that is truly committed when it comes to accountability and sustainability. The reason is that Fisker knows that the process of manufacturing cars is one that needs a lot of resources as well as high amounts of energy.

This begins with the development stage, the building, and all the way to the marketing and the disposing of vehicles. It was important then for Fisker to look for ways not just to improve the efficiency but also to lower the carbon footprint and with it reduce any impact to the environment. Fisker however had the advantage of being able to start with a clean slate.

This gave the brand the chance to make modifications on the auto manufacturing process while at the same time reimagine how customers should view automakers. Fisker revealed that the Karma, along with future models released, can be bought through a worldwide network of independent, established and reputable retailers. Vehicle servicing will be done on the same network as well. The brand disclosed that 45 locations have already been pinpointed around the U.S. with more or less the same number planned for the markets in Europe.

Currently, the brand is developing its retail network in Europe. Identified importers that are expected to manage Fisker products include the Emil Frey Group based in Zurich, Switzerland, and Fisker Italia located in Merano, Italy. Nellemann of Copenhagen, Denmark, is included as well with BD Otomotive in Istanbul, Turkey, rounding off the Europe presence. Fisker will also be entering the Chinese market through China Grand Automotive. This was formalized through a non-exclusive distribution agreement signed in December 2010 in Shanghai.

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