Rechargeable auto battery maker A123 Systems files for bankruptcy protection

US automotive rechargeable battery maker A123 Systems, which is the recipient of a $249-million green-technology grant from the US government yesterday filed for bankruptcy protection.

''This action is expected to allow the company to provide for an orderly sale of the automotive business assets and all other assets and business units,'' said the Waltham, Massachusetts-based company in a press release.

Johnson Controls plans to acquire A123's automotive business assets in a deal valued at $125 million and will provide financing of $72.5 million to support the battery maker's continued operations.

Milwaukee, Wisconsin-based Johnson Controls plans to acquire A123's automotive business assets, including its facilities in Livonia and Romulus, Michigan. It will also get A123's cathode powder plant in China and its equity interest in Shanghai Advanced Traction Battery Systems Co, a joint venture with Shanghai Automotive Industry Corp.

A123 Systems was a recent takeover target by China's Wanxiang Group

In its Chapter 11 filing with the US Bankruptcy Court in Wilmington, Delaware, A123 listed assets of $459.8 million and debt of $376 million.