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Exide Tech surges as co. hires investment bank

NEW YORK (AP) -- Shares of Exide Technologies surged Friday as the battery maker announced that it hired a financial advisory firm to help explore options to maximize shareholder value.

THE SPARK: Late Thursday Exide Technologies said that it hired Lazard to assist in exploring its financing options. Exide did not specify what options it is considering, but companies undergoing such reviews typically consider a sale of part or all of the company.

Exide also announced that it now anticipates fiscal fourth-quarter free cash flow of about $50 million, better than its prior forecast of $30 million.

Exide Technologies said that it does not anticipate making any further comments about its Lazard-assisted review until the process is finished. It also did not specify when it expects to complete the review.

THE BACKGROUND: Exide Technologies makes batteries for vehicles and also provides stored electrical energy services for industrial applications. The Milton, Ga., company has reported a loss for the past four quarters. For the fourth quarter ended in March, analysts expect the company earned 3 cents per share, according to a survey by FactSet.

SHARE ACTION: The company's stock gained 28 cents, or 20.4 percent, to $1.65 in midday trading. It has traded in a 52-week range of $1.16 to $3.77. For the year to date, the shares are down 59.9 percent.