The Straits Times
Published on Jan 30, 2013

Chinese firm wins A123 despite US tech transfer fears


WASHINGTON (REUTERS) - China's largest auto parts maker won US government approval to buy A123 Systems, a maker of electric car batteries, despite warnings by some lawmakers that the deal would transfer sensitive technology developed with US government money.

The sale of the lithium-ion battery maker to a US unit of Wanxiang Group was approved by a US government committee on foreign investment, according to a statement from the Chinese company.

Last month, Wanxiang's US unit agreed to pay US$257 million (S$317 million) for A123's automotive battery business and related assets in a bankruptcy auction, beating out US rival Johnson Controls of Milwaukee.

The transaction, however, still needed approval by the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS), a government body led by the Treasury secretary. The CFIUS approved the deal on Monday night, according to Wanxiang.