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A123 Systems to Boost Headcount

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A123 Systems Inc. (AONEQ) plans to enlarge its workforce at its two Michigan plants by 400 workers, according to Reuters. The company will be employing about 100 workers per month over the next several months in its Livonia and Romulus plants. The new workforce will be utilized to enhance the company’s business in its commercial transportation and grid operations.

In the Livonia plant, the company produces prismatic cells which are used in the lithium-ion batteries of the vehicles. Currently, there is a rising demand for prismatic-based systems among commercial transportation and power-grid customers.

A123 manufactures batteries for BMW hybrid 3- and 5-Series vehicles and General Motors Company’s (GM) all-electric Chevy Spark. The company also has future contracts for producing batteries of Fisker Automotive, General Motors and BMW.

A123 Systems recorded a loss of $125 million or 87 cents per share in the first quarter of 2012 compared to a loss of $53.6 million or 51 cents per share in the corresponding quarter of last year. It missed the Zacks Consensus Estimate of a loss of 39 cents per share. Revenues went down 40% to $10.9 million from $18.1 million in the first quarter of 2011. The decline was due to the decrease in revenues from products sold.

Based in Waltham Massachusetts, A123 develops and manufactures advanced lithium iron phosphate batteries and battery systems for the transportation, electric grid and commercial markets.The company also develops nanophosphate technology. The batteries produced by A123 dominate the automotive market due to its power, safety and durability.

A123 Systems competes with companies like Johnson Controls Inc. (JCI) and Ener1 Inc. Currently, A123 Systems retains a Zacks #3 Rank, which translates into a short-term (1 to 3 months) Hold rating.

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