Chinese firm to buy 80% of US battery maker

Updated: 2012-08-09 21:15

By Xie Yu in Shanghai (Xinhua)

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China's Wanxiang Group, a leading auto parts supplier, will take an 80 percent stake in US battery maker A123 Systems, Reuters reported on Thursday.

A123, which makes high-tech auto batteries for hybrid and electric vehicles, said Wanxiang Group plans to invest up to $450 million in the company.

A123 on Wednesday reported a second quarter loss of $82.9 million, or 56 cents per share, compared with a loss of $55.4 million, or 44 cents per share, a year earlier.

It also warned last month that it had cash to fund its operations for only the next four to five months.

The company said the deal should be completed before the end of the year, and a quick cash injection should help it get through the next several months, Reuters said.

Wanxiang Group, based in Hangzhou, Zhejiang province, was not available to comment on Thursday.

Wanxiang Group has been expanding in the US for almost 20 years. As of February, its US subsidiary owned 28 manufacturing plants in 14 states and employs more than 5,680 people.

Lu Guanqiu, founder of the group, said earlier that "developing electric cars is part of our industrial upgrading efforts".

"Doing this requires a lot of spending and equipment, but electric cars are the future," he said.