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Advisory Council opposes A123 Systems' deal

Keywords: Tags  A123 Systems, Wanxiang Group, Johnson Controls, JCI, Strategic Materials Advisory Council, Daniel Fitzgerald

NEW YORK — The Strategic Materials Advisory Council is urging the U.S. government to oppose the proposed acquisition of battery manufacturer A123 Systems Inc. by Chinese automotive parts manufacturer Wanxiang Group Corp.

Such a deal would “result in the loss of American jobs and the transfer of technologies critical to our nation’s infrastructure and military hardware to China,” the council said in a Nov. 27 letter to Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner.

“Allowing Wanxiang to acquire A123 Systems would ... make the U.S. dependent on an unreliable foreign source for yet another critical defense component,” the council said.

Hangzhou, China-based Wanxiang took a majority stake in A123 Systems in August in a deal that was expected to save the company from bankruptcy; A123 Systems filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in October. Milwaukee-based Johnson Controls Inc. (JCI) then tendered a $125-million offer to acquire the automotive assets of the company (, Oct. 18).

JCI subsequently withdrew $72.5 million in debtor-in-possession financing to support A123 Systems’ continuing operations through the bankruptcy process, saying it wanted to avoid potential delays posed by “threatened legal actions” from Wanxiang (, Oct. 29).

Wanxiang could not be reached for comment Wednesday.

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