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Hybrid Fisker needs cash - now

2012-08-16 13:10

CARRYING THE FLAG: The Karma is Fisker's most high-profile model to date, but the automaker said it needs a big cash injection to tide it over until its second model - a sedan - makes it to market.

SAN FRANCISCO/DETROIT - Fisker Automotive, maker of the Karma hybrid sports car, wants to raise another $150-million (R1.24-billion) to survive until it can launch production of its second model, a key investor said on Wednesday.

The company has already raised more than $1-billion (R8.26-billion) in private financing from venture backers and others since early 2010 but earlier in 2012 was denied access to more than half of a $529-million (R4.37-billion) government loan that was the cornerstone of its business plan.


Ray Lane, a Fisker director, said: "We need money on our balance sheet to fund operating expenses. And we need money to fund the development of the next car."

Once Fisker breaks even, the automaker could pursue a sale to a strategic investor, which could come in late 2013, Lane said in an interview, although other Fisker executives could not be immediately reached for comment.

In 2009, Fisker was among the few automakers to receive a US Department of Energy loan as part of a broader government push to increase jobs and promote green technology. Under a different government effort, Fisker's battery supplier A123 Systems received a $249-million (R2.06-billion) green-technology grant.

However both companies have struggled in recent months. Fisker has faced a series of quality and financial set-backs involving its flagship vehicle, the Karma plug-in hybrid, and delays in the development of its second hybrid model, the Atlantic sedan.

A123, which had run short of cash, recently said it planned to sell a controlling stake to Chinese auto parts-maker Wanxiang for $450-million (R3.72-billion).

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