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Wanxiang close to purchase U.S. battery maker

2012-12-28 13:09 Xinhua     Web Editor: qindexing comment

Wanxiang Group, a Chinese auto parts maker, is one step from closing a $256 million deal of purchasing commercial assets of a US advanced battery maker A123 Systems, which went bankruptcy in October.

Delaware Bankruptcy Court Judge Kevin Carey on Dec 11 approved Wangxiang's purchase, which was made through an auction held in Chicago on Dec 6 and 7. Wanxiang won the bid over three other American companies. The deal excluded A123's contract with US military and government, as some US military leaders and politicians worry that sensitive technology will slip from the US into foreign hands.

To finish the deal, Wanxiang needs the approval of the Committee on Foreign Investment in the US, or CFIUS, a group of government agencies chaired by the US Treasury Department, according to Pin Ni, who has been the head of Wanxiang's US subsidiary since 1994.

Though some might use national security concerns as an excuse to sabotage the purchase, Ni told Xinhua he was confident of the fundamental administration management system of the US.

"CFIUS's approval of Wanxiang's purchase of A123 will be a matter of process to follow," said Ni."What needs most between China and the US is transparency, and what lacks most between the two countries is also transparency."

Wanxiang made its name known as an auto parts maker and supplier. One in three vehicles produced in the US in 2010 were equipped with Wanxiang parts, data show. In 2002, Wanxiang entered photovoltaic industry, kicking off its transition from traditional industry to new energy industry. In 2012 alone, Wanxiang America Corporation invested in six clean energy projects in the US

When Ni first took office 18 years ago, Wanxiang has just expanded its business into the US In less than two decades, sales volume of the company has grown from $3.5 million in 1995 to $2 billion in 2010. Wanxiang America Corporation now runs 23 factories in the US, hiring over 6,000 employees.

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