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Wanxiang wins U.S. approval to acquire A123

China’s largest auto parts maker Wanxiang finally won U.S. government approval to buy A123 Systems after a long battle since the battery company filed for bankruptcy in August 2012.

The sale of the Li-ion battery maker was approved by a U.S. government committee on foreign investment, according to a statement from Wanxiang.

“Wanxiang America looks forward to closing the transaction and to continuing to foster the technologies A123 has worked so hard to develop,” said Pin Ni, president of Wanxiang’s U.S. subsidiary, in a statement.

As previously announced, A123 and Wanxiang have agreed to terms on an asset purchase agreement through which Wanxiang would acquire substantially all of A123’s assets for $256.6 million.

“Wanxiang’s takeover of A123 will hopefully improve A123’s quality management and control,” said Wang Ying, deputy technical director of Shanghai Advanced Traction Battery Systems, a joint venture between SAIC Motor and A123.

Wang said at CBU’s second annual EV international seminar that the core value of A123 lies in its cutting-edge technology, which has developed all the way from the beginning battery powder, battery cell to battery packs. “Many of A123’s research elites come from Ford. It is so rare in the industry that developers are specialized in not only battery but also vehicles.”

Wang also noticed A123’s weakness in battery manufacturing quality control. “Production volume of batteries for A123 is so small and the company lacks production quality management experience, which is expected to be improved by Wanxiang,” said Wang.

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