Intelligent Energy

Solyndra 2.0? A123 Systems is faltering

Solyndra 2.0? A123 Systems is faltering

Posting in Energy

With a class action lawsuit, recalls, and an end to govt. subsidies, A123 Systems could be the next DOE loan guarantee recipient to follow Solyndra into bankruptcy.

April has been showering misfortune on battery maker A123 Systems. It's financing another battery recall program, is a defendant is an investor class action lawsuit, and its stock is now dangling below US$1.

Why is this significant? A123 received a $249.1 million grant from the Department of Energy to build its battery concept. It's an election year, and Solyndra's failure is already a political bomb. There are plenty of videos on YouTube of Present Obama and Nancy Pelosi standing in front of A123 Systems' plants.

A123 spokesperson Steve Roy declined to comment on the pending litigation per company policy, but offered this statement on the company's overall financial health:

"We have sufficient liquidity to fund the field campaign to replace battery modules and packs with potentially defective cells.  We do expect this situation will require us to adjust our fund-raising strategy, and plan to provide an updated outlook during our next quarterly earnings call. We have demonstrated our ability to strengthen our liquidity through strategic partnerships, so we believe we will be successful in fulfilling any necessary funding required to continue the growth of the company."

It would be able to withstand bankruptcy based on its reporting as of late December (Doomsday ration was .64 - the low end of average). Other financial indicators in Q4 weren't terrific: net profit margin was down 210.45%, its operating margin was down 204.34%, and EBITD for 2011 was down 141.09%.

You may recall last month's post about A123's role in a disastrous Consumer Reports review of Fisker Automotive's Karma plug-in hybrid sedan. The test car shut down (very publicly) before even making it through its initial round of testing, and an A123 battery was the culprit - prompting Fisker's second battery recall.

A123's stock has plummeted.

(Image Credit: everydayclimb.wordpress.com)

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David Worthington

Contributing Editor

David Worthington has written for BetaNews, eWeek, PC World, Technologizer and ZDNet. Formerly, he was a senior editor at SD Times. He holds a business degree from Temple University. He is based in New York. Follow him on Twitter. Disclosure