Chinese Firm Wins Auction for U.S.-Backed Battery Maker

Chinese-owned auto-parts manufacturer Wanxiang America Corp. won the bidding for A123 Systems Inc., the government-backed battery maker that has yet to turn a profit, at a bankruptcy auction that ended early Saturday morning.

Wanxiang’s winning bid of $256.6 million topped a combined offer from Milwaukee-based auto-parts manufacturer Johnson Controls Inc. and electronics maker NEC Corp. of Japan, the company said. German conglomerate Siemens AG also submitted a qualified bid at the auction, which kicked off Thursday at the Chicago office of Latham & Watkins, the law firm representing A123 in its Chapter 11 case.

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