China's Wanxiang expected to buy lithium-ion battery company

By Rhoda Miel
News Editor

Published: December 10, 2012 6:00 am ET
Updated: January 8, 2013 5:52 am ET

Related to this story

Topics Automotive Sustainability Materials Mergers & Acquisitions Suppliers
Companies & Associations

WALTHAM, MASS. (Dec. 10, 11:45 a.m. ET) — China's Wanxiang Group Corp. is expected to take over lithium-ion battery company A123 Systems Inc. now that Johnson Controls Inc. has backed out of a competing offer to buy the firm's assets in a bankruptcy auction.

A123 — with headquarters in Waltham, Mass., and battery production in Romulus, Mich., and Livonia, Mich. — entered Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection with the U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Delaware in October, with a plan in place for JCI to buy the assets in a deal worth $125 million.

Wanxiang, based in Hangzhou, entered a competing bid of $257 million and representatives from A123 announced Dec. 9 that they accepted that higher offer. JCI said in a press release that it was withdrawing from the process.

"While A123's automotive and government assets were complementary to Johnson Controls' portfolio and aligned with our long-term goals, Wanxiang's offer was beyond the value of those assets to Johnson Controls," said Alex Molinaroli, the president of JCI's power systems unit, based in Glendale, Wis.

A hearing on Wanxiang's offer is set for Dec. 11.

Interest in battery technology is continuing to grow in the U.S., however, despite the bankruptcy by A123, one of the first auto-focused lithium-ion battery makers in North America.

Lithium-ion batteries use a polymer film at the core of every cell, and also use plastics extensively in structural parts, cooling systems and electrical connections.

JCI is part of a $120 million research project combining business, government and university researchers to improve battery storage and create next-general battery technology.

The U.S. Department of Energy's Argonne National Laboratory will lead the Joint Center for Energy Storage Research, which will combine the research and development operations of five Energy Department laboratories, four private firms and five universities.

The Argonne lab in suburban Chicago will host one development project site while two others are set for Ann Arbor, Mich., at the University of Michigan and Holland, Mich., home to Michigan State University's Bio-Economy Institute, federal officials announced Nov. 30.

Holland is also home to JCI's lithium-ion battery manufacturing facility.

Other partners in JCESR are Dow Chemical Co. of Midland, Mich., Applied Materials Inc. of Santa Clara, Calif., Clean Energy Trust of Chicago, Ill., Northwestern University, the University of Chicago, and University of Illinois' Urbana-Champaign and Chicago campuses. Dow also has its own joint venture lithium-ion battery operation, Dow Kokam LLC of Midland.


Comments

China's Wanxiang expected to buy lithium-ion battery company

By Rhoda Miel
News Editor

Published: December 10, 2012 6:00 am ET
Updated: January 8, 2013 5:52 am ET

Post Your Comments


Back to story


More stories

Image

Wittmann Battenfeld robots rev up for NPE demonstration

March 31, 2015 11:44 am ET

What if robots ran a NASCAR pit crew? The answer to that question was on display at Wittmann Battenfeld Inc.'s exhibit at NPE 2015.    More

Image

Material Insights: Firms announce capacity expansions at NPE

March 30, 2015 12:19 pm ET

Sabic and Eastman both made announcements at NPE, and we catch up with Americhem to discuss the company's nDuramax-brand UV stabilizers for polymeric ...    More

Image

Getting a real feel for how 'vinyl saves lives'

March 27, 2015 6:00 am ET

While I'm certainly not shipping off to Africa anytime soon, I got a taste of what medical professionals go through in the fight against Ebola and...    More

Image

Plastics News Now: Highlights from NPE 2015

March 25, 2015 6:35 pm ET

We wrap our week of coverage of NPE 2015 with a look at a plastic can looking to replace tin, robots and the Freeformer.    More

Image

Wal-Mart: We want to buy American

March 25, 2015 3:41 pm ET

Wal-Mart Stores Inc. is looking to boost the number of domestic suppliers as part of its 10-year, $250 billion investment program, according to the re...    More

Market Reports

Flexible Packaging Trends in North America

North America represents about 30 percent of the global consumption of flexible packaging. Annual growth in this region is forecast at 4 percent during the next 5 years.

For more insight on growth opportunities, drivers of growth and the outlook for 2015, download this report.

Learn more

Plastics Recycling Trends in North America

This report is a review and analysis of the North American Plastics Recycling Industry, including key trends and statistics based on 2013 performance. We examine market environment factors, regulatory issues, industry challenges, key drivers and emerging trends in post-consumer and post-industrial recycling.

Learn more

Plastics in Mexico - State of the Industry Report

This report analyzes the $20 billion plastics industry in Mexico including sales of machinery & equipment, resins and finished products.

Our analysts provide insight on business trends, foreign investment, top end markets and plastics processing activity. The report also provides important data on exports, production, employment and value of plastics products manufactured.

Learn more

Upcoming Plastics News Events

June 2, 2015 - June 3, 2015Plastics Financial Summit - Chicago 2015

September 16, 2015 - September 18, 2015Plastics Caps & Closures - September 2015

More Events