Analyst: Pretty certain Fisker’s DOE loan is gone

Ray Lane's Fisker Karma

How likely is it that electric car company Fisker Automotive will be able to draw down on the remaining $339 million of its Department of Energy loan? According to one analyst, not likely. Theodore O’Neill, an analyst with Wunderlich Securities, tells The Boston Globe that:

“Everyone that I’ve talked to is pretty certain that the DOE loan is not coming’’ back, and the Obama administration is “politically boxed in’’ by the troubled loans. If the federal money does not reappear, “that croaks Fisker and that croaks A123.’’

Fisker hasn’t been able to draw down on the DOE funds since May of 2011 because of the delays in shipping its first car the Fisker Karma. Battery maker A123 Systems is the supplier of the batteries for Fisker’s Karma, and A123 Systems has seen its stock stumble in recent months as it was forced to cut both temporary workers and cell production for Q4 because of Fisker’s volume reduction.

A123 Systems had to lower its fourth-quarter and year-2011 guidance by $45 million. Pretty much the entirety of that year-guidance cut was from the sliced Fisker deal, and Fisker was A123 System’s largest revenue-generating transportation deal.

Fisker is still shipping its first car the Karma, but has now suspended work on its second car the Nina. A spokesperson for Fisker told me last week that Fisker is pursuing “alternative funding sources.” A spokesperson for the Department of Energy tells me in an email that Fisker and the DOE “are working together to adjust the timing of the milestones.”

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