Print 18 comment(s) - last by maugrimtr.. on Dec 11 at 9:53 AM

Congress isn't too sure about the outcome

A123 Systems finally has a new owner after its auction this past weekend, but Congress isn't too happy about the outcome.

Chinese firm Wanxiang Group won the auction for A123 Systems on Saturday for about $260 million. This has concerned certain members of Congress, who said that A123's contracts with the U.S. Department of Defense are at stake.

"I am very concerned by Wanxiang's acquisition of A123," said Rep. Bill Huizenga (R-Zeeland). "A123 maintains several contracts with the Department of Defense and given the thin line between Wanxiang and the Chinese Government, I am concerned about the Government of China having access to sensitive technologies being used by our military forces."

However, Wanxiang doesn't have full access to A123's technology. Part of A123 was also sold to Illinois-based Navitas Systems LLC, which will hold the DOD contracts for $2.2 million.

Back in mid-October, A123 Systems officially filed for bankruptcy and agreed to sell its automotive business assets to Johnson Controls -- a company that optimizes energy efficiencies in car batteries, buildings and electronics.

Before that, A123 was missing its loan payments. It had received $249.1 million in grants from the U.S. government in 2009 to develop green, electric car batteries. It was discovered that the U.S. government gave A123 a $1 million grant the day it filed for bankruptcy.

A123 Systems suffered a huge kick earlier this year when it announced a $55 million battery replacement program for Fisker Automotive's Karma. The vehicle had issues with the batteries' hose clamps. 

A123 Systems joins a list of other green companies that filed for bankruptcy after receiving government loans and grants. Back in September 2011, solar panel company Solyndra filed for bankruptcy after receiving a $535 million loan from the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE). In November, Beacon Power (maker of flywheels for grid efficiency) filed after receiving a $43 million loan guarantee from DOE in 2010. 
In January 2012, EV battery maker Ener1 filed for bankruptcy after its subsidiary, EnerDel, won a $118.5 million grant from DOE in 2009. 

The U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Delaware will hold a hearing on the result of the A123 Systems auction on Tuesday, December 11.

Source: The Detroit News

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By tng on 12/10/2012 8:57:57 AM , Rating: 3
So how much of our money went to improve technology that we are now just giving to China who will sell it back to us in the future?

RE: Figures...
By RufusM on 12/10/2012 9:11:42 AM , Rating: 2
I can't hardly believe the government wouldn't have some sort of agreement, when companies receive these types of funds, with limitations surrounding the company's sale or acquisition for a certain timeframe; especially foreign acquisition. (OK, I can believe it because the government just wastes so damn much and no business acumen whatsoever, but it's ridiculous..)

RE: Figures...
By GotThumbs on 12/10/12, Rating: 0
RE: Figures...
By Proposer88 on 12/10/2012 12:58:08 PM , Rating: 2
"If your not outraged, then you flunked Grammar 101"

There! FIFY

RE: Figures...
By FITCamaro on 12/10/2012 10:14:40 AM , Rating: 2
Yup. We just financed yet more of China's technological and manufacturing superiority.

RE: Figures...
By StanO360 on 12/10/2012 1:31:10 PM , Rating: 3
At this point China is neither technologically superior nor more efficient in manufacturing. Yes, the manufacture more volume than us (though not by a lot).

RE: Figures...
By maugrimtr on 12/11/2012 9:53:04 AM , Rating: 2
This is Dailytech. Take your Vulcan logic elsewhere. Here we listen to our guts, and our intestines do not digest well when contemplating China taking advantage of Laissez-Faire economics free from US Government manipulation. Wait, I though we conservatives stood for free markets and globalization?

It's unlikely that the A123 purchase has any security impact since batteries are slowly becoming a commodity. They already ensured that the DOD contracts stayed with a US company. It's a pity the taxpayer funded Chinese R&D but that's what you get for being careless when playing venture capitalist.

Who was monitoring their financials and writing grant reclamation clauses? The Windows paperclip man would have more sense.

RE: Figures...
By danjw1 on 12/10/2012 11:34:02 AM , Rating: 2
The President can still block the sale. He has done it before, I think it should happen here too.

RE: Figures...
By Rukkian on 12/10/2012 3:59:18 PM , Rating: 2
Then all the obama haters here will just say he should not be interfering with business!

RE: Figures...
By Argon18 on 12/10/2012 12:27:25 PM , Rating: 2
When you say "our money", in the case it's the literal truth, since Obama has been dumping taxpayer dollars into these so-called "green energy" companies.

It's curious how every one of them that's received hundreds of $Millions in government money all have CEO's who were big Obama campaign donors. The dictionary definition of corruption! And we're stuck with another four years of this disaster administration.

RE: Figures...
By BZDTemp on 12/10/12, Rating: -1
RE: Figures...
By mdogs444 on 12/10/2012 2:19:45 PM , Rating: 2
Please take your one side political BS and go away.

to move the country forward

This coming from someone who just recited the Obama campaign slogan?

Give me a break.

RE: Figures...
By Netscorer on 12/10/2012 2:15:52 PM , Rating: 2

for some reason I don't see people fuming at their mouth when government (both Republican and Democrat) subsidizes other industries, such as agriculture, pharmaceutics, auto, aviation, etc. In a pure Capitalism system this should not happen, yet we all know that this is norm of life when countries compete with one another for precious jobs and export revenue.
So why is this that the Green technologies became a scapegoat? Yes, a lot of them are failing, but they mostly fail because Chinese subsidize their green companies even more and have better access to the rare metals that are required for manufacturing.

RE: Figures...
By Argon18 on 12/10/2012 3:29:02 PM , Rating: 2
You haven't been paying attention to the DT articles lately. Government subsidies of Corn farmers have been a hot topic.

Secondly, there's a difference between government investing in technology, and government investing in private business. NASA is a great example of government investing in technology. And Solyndra is a great example of government investing in private business.

NASA's science and technology is made free for the good of everyone. It doesn't go Bankrupt. It doesn't get bought out. It doesn't give $Million dollar CEO bonuses to political campaign donors. It doesn't get sold to a foreign Communist-controlled entity.

Most people agree that "Green" technology is a good thing. But it's how administration has chosen to "invest" that is just plain wrong and unethical. The Obama administration gave a million bucks to A123 on the same day they filed for bankruptcy ! If that isn't a broken and corrupt system, I don't know what is.

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