Thursday, December 06, 2012

Battery maker that received stimulus money could be sold to Chinese company

A bankrupt battery manufacturer that was a cornerstone of President Obama’s effort to make the United States a global leader in clean-energy technology could end up in the hands of a Chinese company when it goes on the auction block Thursday. Congressional Republicans call the company, A123 Systems, which received $133 million in federal stimulus grants, a textbook case of how the Obama administration wasted taxpayer money trying to nurture new industries. Administration officials say the stimulus money was used to build a new manufacturing facility in Michigan that could remain open under new owners, even if they turn out to be foreign. The company also has a Pentagon contract classified as “secret,” and Sens. Charles E. Grassley (R-Iowa) and John Thune (R-S.D.) are waving red flags. In a letter to Treasury Secretary Timothy F. Geithner, they called for a review by the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States, an inter-agency group that reviews transactions that might harm national security. Treasury oversees CFIUS. A123 Systems, founded in 2001, sells lithium ion batteries for electric cars and for utilities that use them as backup, community or renewable-energy storage...more

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