Ener1, Owner Of Lithium Cell Firm, To Emerge From Bankruptcy

Charles Gassenheimer, Ener1 CEO, at Volvo

Charles Gassenheimer, Ener1 CEO, at Volvo

Ener1, the company that owns lithium-ion cell maker EnerDel, will emerge from Chapter 11 bankruptcy in the next two weeks, according to a recent statement by the company.

The firm had sought bankruptcy protection in January, but said it would not go out of business. Its recovery comes after an internal restructuring of both the organization and its debts.

Newly negotiated lending agreements, as well as staff and operations reductions, have convinced backers to provide approximately $86 million in fresh equity.

The revitalized firm will focus on battery supply after the sale of its automotive subsidiary Think Global, which had itself entered bankruptcy last summer. Before its bankruptcy, Ener1's stock had been delisted after the Think failure.

Carmaker Think has since been acquired by a Russian entrepreneur, Boris Zingarevich, who had been the majority shareholder in Ener1 as well. Little has been heard from Think since the new owner took possession. 

CEO Alex Sorkin has not detailed Ener1's post-bankruptcy plans, except to say that the company "will be better positioned to meet the demands of existing and potential customers in the energy storage industry."

Ener1 subsidiary EnerDel, the actual manufacturer of lithium-ion cells in a plant in Indianapolis, was awarded $118 million in economic recovery grants low-interest loans by the U.S. Department of Energy.

To date, according to a statement by an attorney for the firm, it has drawn down $55 million of those funds loans to match $55 million of its own money. EnerDel itself did not enter bankruptcy, and its plant continues to operate.


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