NEC explores buying A123 Systems

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NEC Corp. is considering acquiring part of U.S. battery maker A123 Systems Inc. to obtain the large storage battery technology to help boost its smart grid product offerings, according to reports.

A123 Systems, which has been manufacturing large-scale energy storage batteries on top of its electric vehicle batteries, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection last month.

The Massachusetts-based company is expected to organize a tender to select its corporate acquirer to take over its assets and battery technology.

An NEC public relations official declined to comment, saying nothing has been decided on the report. NEC, which has been manufacturing lithium ion batteries for electric vehicles, has been seeking to expand the storage battery business to make it one of its main revenue-earning segments.

But it remains unknown whether NEC will emerge as a winner in the upcoming tender in light of other companies that have expressed interest in submitting competing bids.

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