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Posted on Thu, Mar 28, 2013 : 5:58 p.m.

A123 Systems renamed B456 Systems following bankruptcy purchase

By Ben Freed

As part of it's purchase through bankruptcy of A123 Systems, Chinese auto supplier Wanxiang Group was required to give the company a new name, according to a report from the Detroit Free Press. Wanxiang officials settled on B456 Systems, Inc.


AP Photo/Paul Sancya

The company made the name change official by filing documents today with the U.S. Security and Exchange Commission explaining the change. The Massachusetts-based company operated plants in Livonia and Romulus before it filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in October. Wanxiang has said it plans to continue maintaining the Michigan plants.

Ann Arbor’s offices connected to the company were sold to Chicago-based Navitas Systems, who said in February that they plan to double the size of the office from 40 to approximately 80 employees by the end of the year.

Ben Freed covers business for You can sign up here to receive Business Review updates every week. Reach out to Ben at 734-623-2528 or email him at Follow him on twitter @BFreedinA2


Superior Twp voter

Fri, Mar 29, 2013 : 4:44 p.m.

Thanks, Barry. Better get back to your NCAA tourney picks - maybe you can pick 'em better there.


Fri, Mar 29, 2013 : 1:32 p.m.

Ben, I'll leave the 'it's' affair, but had you actually read the SEC filing, instead of simply parroting others, you'd know that the name B456 Systems is a new legal name of the ESTATE of the old A123 Systems, Inc., a change ordered by the Delaware bankruptcy court, not the new name of A123 Systsems, LLC, which was purchased by Wanxiang.

Kai Petainen

Fri, Mar 29, 2013 : 10:53 p.m.

Ben's article is spot-on. Not once does he mention LLC. The SEC filing doesn't list LLC.


Fri, Mar 29, 2013 : 9:12 a.m.

Ben: "it's purchase" is not right.


Fri, Mar 29, 2013 : 1:20 a.m.

Why don't we just give China another half billion dollars of taxpayers money directly rather than letting them buy the technology cheaply.


Fri, Mar 29, 2013 : 6:22 a.m.

China just bought the technology cheaply that Americans didnt have the logic and foresight to buy and continue investing in. Now China will own another new critical energy source of the future. America's loss.

Jack Gladney

Fri, Mar 29, 2013 : 1:03 a.m.

More crony capitalism brought to you by Basketball Barry and Two Penny Jenny.


Fri, Mar 29, 2013 : 12:12 a.m.

@AlmostPhD, an interesting fact. Wondered the rhyme or reason for the original (it did put them up front in the yellow pages) What's also interesting is a summation of the A123 story. 1) Up to $249 million of federal funds to A123, an additional $125M from Michigan goes to this company as part of green/stimulus. 2) As we run a deficit and borrow (some from China...), A123 goes bankrupt. US loses money, most investors lose money, but we (and our kids) will still be paying the deficit and loss on this. 3) Chinese corporation Wanxiang, buys A123 for $257M. Wanxiang makes a lot of it's money selling auto parts to Ford and GM. 4) So, to wrap it all up, we borrowed money from China that we must pay back, while the company that lost the money is sold to China to pay a tiny portion to the private investors. The federal government is not being reimbursed. That Chinese company, will in turn, will sell Ford and GM auto parts to us and make money on them. Don't you love it when government gets involved in business?


Sun, Mar 31, 2013 : 8:03 p.m.

Spinning truth and wisdom. Three of the top five corporate tax payers are energy companies. Company "A" is a manufacturing enterprise. US tax code provides for a tax depreciation on the equipment needed to produce. This encourages the enterprise to purchase and upkeep expensive equipment from many other suppliers. Company "B" makes an intellectual product. They get to deduct their desks and computers. Company "A" is Ford, or Exxon. Company "B" is Oracle or Microsoft. Under US Tax Code, which ones would have the greatest write offs in depreciation? Be a champ there Sparty, pick "A".


Sun, Mar 31, 2013 : 6:31 p.m.

Keep on spinning ........ ROFL


Sun, Mar 31, 2013 : 5:47 p.m.

US tax code has always favored manufacturing and industry because the breaks given on equipment depreciation and replacement is recognized as helpful to the economy. Comparing the tax rates for companies like Ford and Exxon with Apple is nonsense. Menendez


Sun, Mar 31, 2013 : 4:31 a.m.

But an examination of the American tax code indicates that oil production is among the most heavily subsidized businesses, with tax breaks available at virtually every stage of the exploration and extraction process. According to the most recent study by the Congressional Budget Office, released in 2005, capital investments like oil field leases and drilling equipment are taxed at an effective rate of 9 percent, significantly lower than the overall rate of 25 percent for businesses in general and lower than virtually any other industry. And for many small and midsize oil companies, the tax on capital investments is so low that it is more than eliminated by var-ious credits. These companies' returns on those investments are often higher after taxes than before. "The flow of revenues to oil companies is like the gusher at the bottom of the Gulf of Mexico: heavy and constant," said Senator Robert Menendez, Democrat of New Jersey, who has worked alongside the Obama administration on a bill that would cut $20 billion in oil industry tax breaks over the next decade. "There is no reason for these corporations to shortchange the American taxpayer."


Sat, Mar 30, 2013 : 4:21 a.m.

Oops, forgot to add - approximately 270 thousand dollars per employee (based on their highest number of employees) for A123 in green-cronyism federal dollars (not counting the additional state grants) that we pay for (assuming you pay taxes).


Fri, Mar 29, 2013 : 7:15 p.m.

Not fully enlightened yet Sparty, Your "continued supporting of the Oil Industry" is largely through corporate tax write offs available to ANY corporation, including A123 before they went belly up. So there's your "support". You are aware of course, that of the top five corporate tax payers, energy companies rank #1 (Exxon), #2 (Chevon) and #3 (ConocoPhillips) in amount of taxes paid. And you have not answered the question - who is paying for it?


Fri, Mar 29, 2013 : 6:24 p.m.

Federal & State Government support of new clean-energy (renewable) energy is needed until it is mature enough to be self-sustaining. Clearly this is something that China understands. For some reason the Federal and State Governments feels it necessary to have continued supporting the Oil Industry to the tune of BILLIONS of dollars each year. Why is it so ludicrous that some support for clean energy be made available as an alternative ?


Fri, Mar 29, 2013 : 3:04 p.m.

Enlighten us Sparty: "Our Federal and State Governments invested in a critical industry, but without ongoing support as the new industry grew, A123's business model was not yet mature enough to be successful on its own" What "ongoing support" would you suggest and who is paying for it?


Fri, Mar 29, 2013 : 6:18 a.m.

Our Federal and State Governments invested in a critical industry, but without ongoing support as the new industry grew, A123's business model was not yet mature enough to be successful on its own. China, on the other hand, was willing to invest and continue to support this important new energy source until it is financially self sustaining and then earning profits on an industry they will own!


Fri, Mar 29, 2013 : 12:01 a.m.

From some article: "Michigan gave A123 Systems $100 million in MEGA tax credits and another $41 million in tax breaks and subsidies from a separate program. ... Granholm said it made Michigan the "advanced battery capital of North America." And there that all went. And yet this keeps happening over and over, as if people don't learn.


Thu, Mar 28, 2013 : 11:59 p.m.

The Chineese are laughing all the way to the bank.


Thu, Mar 28, 2013 : 11:47 p.m.

HHAHAHAHAHAHA!! After stooge Obama paid them millions of taxpayer dollars we don't have, they they will be owned by China. HAHAHAHAHA!! I wonder if they will be making batteries for Chinese nuclear submarines? HAHAHAHAHAAH!!


Thu, Mar 28, 2013 : 11:40 p.m.

For those who don't know, which, for your sake, is hopefully all of you, A123 takes its name from the Hamaker constant, an material or chemical interaction parameter between one material/molecule and another through a third medium, commonly used when calculating Van der Waals interactions between particles empirically. It's usually rendered with subscripts, as, if this shows HTML properly, A123.

Kai Petainen

Fri, Mar 29, 2013 : 12:28 a.m.

a B456 is a fire extinguisher. with battery fires, it seems appropriate.

Left is Right

Fri, Mar 29, 2013 : 12:22 a.m.

And B456?

Kai Petainen

Thu, Mar 28, 2013 : 11:53 p.m.

I've always wondered about this... cool.


Thu, Mar 28, 2013 : 11:40 p.m.

It doesn't show HTML properly, I guess.

Kai Petainen

Thu, Mar 28, 2013 : 11:32 p.m.

here's my take on it.


Thu, Mar 28, 2013 : 11:29 p.m.

I can't believe this isn't from The Onion!

Kai Petainen

Fri, Mar 29, 2013 : 1:30 a.m.

I love that you put the tag 'funny' lol

Ann Dwyer

Fri, Mar 29, 2013 : 1:12 a.m.

I believe that was the thought in the newsroom, as well.


Thu, Mar 28, 2013 : 11:24 p.m.

Just the headline made me laugh. Then I realized it wasn't a joke, and I laughed hard enough to snort a little.

Ann English

Fri, Mar 29, 2013 : 12:57 a.m.

The headline gave me the impression that A123 was a completely different business from Navitas, that Navitas wasn't involved with batteries at all. Sometimes it does happen; a vending machine company leaves, an auto repair shop moves in. A stereo speaker factory leaves, a carpet and flooring business moves in.


Thu, Mar 28, 2013 : 10:47 p.m. THAT'S funny! Who would have thought the Chinese Government had such a wry sense of humor??

Kai Petainen

Thu, Mar 28, 2013 : 10:23 p.m.

Seriously? HAHAHAHA.... April Fools day is a few days away. They named it B456???? wow. hmm.. spinoff will be C789? Does anyone realize that a B456 is a type of fire extinguisher? If the company has battery problems and fires...... expect a bunch of 'fire extinguisher' jokes...

Admiral Halsey

Fri, Mar 29, 2013 : 6:42 a.m.

All caps, compounded punctuation marks. No, no, don't like it at all. Not at all. Ellipses?

Ann English

Fri, Mar 29, 2013 : 12:52 a.m.

Don't the labels of ordinary alkaline batteries say NOT to throw the batteries into fire, or else they will burst? Burst, not EXPLODE. That would cause a fire to spread. Concentrated carbon dioxide from a fire extinguisher would shrink, if not put out, a fire.