Battery maker A123 Systems charged from IPO

Will A123 Systems be a bellwether for so many green-tech start-ups? In its first day on the market, the lithium ion battery maker sees its shares soar over 50 percent.

Lithium ion battery maker A123 Systems had a rousing debut on the public stock market on Thursday, giving some good news to legions of energy investors and entrepreneurs.

The Watertown, Mass.-based company, which was spun out of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, saw its share prices rise over 50 percent from its offering price to close at over $20.

A123 Systems' battery platform is being used for power tools, transportation, and power grid energy storage.
A123 Systems' battery platform is being used for power tools, transportation, and power grid energy storage. Martin LaMonica/CNET

Through the initial public offering, the company is expected to raise over $400 million, Reuters reported. It had initially hoped to net $250 million but adjusted its offering price to raise more.

A123 Systems' IPO has been closely watched in the green tech community because it is one of only a few energy-related companies started this decade to go public. It currently supplies batteries for power tools and has built large, megawatt-scale batteries for utilities.

It's also eyeing the automotive sector, a potentially much larger market. A123 Systems received a $249.1 million grant from the Department of Energy to build a lithium ion battery packs factory in Michigan as part of a $2.4 billion investment in the plug-in electric car supply chain.

A123 Systems' IPO was the second most successful of the year, Reuters reported. A123 initially filed to go public in August of 2008.

Although it was a strong IPO, some energy storage experts say that lithium ion batteries, which will be used in a number of upcoming plug-in electric vehicles, need to come down in costs significantly for electric cars to be more mainstream .


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