Archive for the ‘IPO’ Category

Nuclear waste recycler EnergySolutions hit with three purported class action suits over public offerings

October 19, 2009

The Kendall Law Firm, headed by former federal judge and a former United States attorney, piled on the third purported class action complaint against nuclear waste recycler EnergySolutions over its initial and secondary public offerings of securities.

Following the City of Roseville Employees’ Retirement System (complaint) and the Building Trades United Pension Trust Fund (complaint), the Kendall complaint alleges that  statements made in the company’s offering documents about its opportunities in the nuclear industry were misleading in that EnergySolutions was not well situated to benefit from those opportunities.  According to the Kendall complaint, the Company had petitioned the Nuclear Regulatory Commission in 2007 to change well-established regulations to allow funds from licensees’ decommissioning trust funds to be used for the cost of disposal of major radioactive components that have been removed from reactors before the permanent cessation of operations.  The complaint further alleges that the business prospects of EnergySolutions were heavily dependent upon a favorable ruling from the NRC, even though the NRC had already addressed and rejected the issue stating that the purpose of the decommissioning trust funds is to ensure that licensees have adequate funds on hand for decommissioning activities at the time of license expiration.

According to the Kendall complaint, EnergySolutions later issued a press release on October 14, 2008, after its secondary public offering, revealing that the company was reducing its estimates for net income and that the financial crisis would delay their ability to accelerate the decommissioning of nuclear power plant assets. The press release also indicated that the NRC denied the Petition for rulemaking change. On this announcement, EnergySolutions’ stock dropped 44%, from $10.14 per share on October 13 to $5.64 on October 14 with extremely heavy trade volume.

From EnergySolutions’ website:

“EnergySolutions, headquartered in Salt Lake City, Utah, is an international nuclear services company with operations throughout the United States and around the world. With over 5,500 world-class professionals, EnergySolutions is a world leader in the safe recycling, processing and disposal of nuclear material. EnergySolutions provides integrated services and solutions to the nuclear industry, the United States Government, the Government of the United Kingdom, hospitals and research facilities.”

The website also describes the companies completed and current projects and several case studies.

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A123 reportedly working to settle lithium battery patent dispute on eve of highly successful IPO

September 24, 2009

Maker of lithium batteries for plug-in vehicles A123 Systems raised an incredible $400 MM in its IPO yesterday.  A123 is currently defending a patent infringement suit brought by the University of Texas and Canada’s largest utility, Hydro-Quebec.  According to the co-plaintiffs’ complaint, Hydro-Quebec is the university’s exclusive licensee of two lithium battery patents developed by university professor Dr. John Goodenough and his team.  The complaint also names defendants China BAK Battery, Inc. and Black & Decker, the former allegedly manufacturing A123 batteries used in the latter’s devices.   Massachusetts-based A123 filed a complaint in Boston against Hydro-Quebec seeking declaratory judgment of invalidity and non-infringement.  The Texas action was stayed and the Boston action dismissed pending reexam, with motions to restart proceedings subsequently filed in both cases.

Bloomberg reports that A123 has been in talks to settle the disputes, according to an unopposed calendaring motion filed by A123 in the Texas action on Sept. 15, about two weeks before the IPO.

The suits involve U.S. Patent No. 5, 910,383 (“Production Process of Carbonaceious Material and Battery”) and No. 6,514,640 (“Cathode Materials for Secondary (Rechargeable) Lithium Batteries”).

‘383 patent claim 1:

1. A process for the production of a carbonaceous material comprising the following steps:
subjecting a vacuum distillation residual pitch to heat treatment at a temperature of up to 420.degree. C. until the content of quinoline-insoluble components thereof becomes 50 to 80 wt. %, whereby said pitch is converted into a mesophase pitch;
grinding the thus-obtained mesophase pitch into fine particles having an aspect ratio not greater than 2;
subjecting the thus-ground product to oxidation treatment; and
subjecting the thus-oxidized product to carbonization or graphitization treatment.

‘640 patent claim 1:

1. A cathode material for a rechargeable electrochemical cell, said cell also comprising an anode and an electrolyte, the cathode material comprising a compound of the ordered or modified olivine structure having the formula:

LixM1(dtqr)DdTtQqRr(XO4)

wherein: N is a cation of a metal selected from the group consisting of Fe, Mn, Co, Ti, Ni or mixtures thereof; D is a metal having a +2 oxidation state selected from the group consisting of Mg.sup.2+, Ni.sup.2+, Co.sup.2+, Zn.sup.2+, Cu.sup.2+, and Ti.sup.2+ ; T is a metal having a +3 oxidation state selected from the group consisting of Al.sup.3+t, Ti.sup.3+, Cr.sup.3+, Fe.sup.3+, Mn.sup.3+, Ga.sup.3+, Zn.sup.3+, and V.sup.3+ ; Q is a metal having a +4 oxidation state selected from the group consisting of Ti.sup.4+ ; Ge.sup.4+ ; Sn.sup.4+, and V.sup.4+ ; R is a metal having a +5 oxidation state selected from the group consisting of V.sup.5+ ; Nb.sup.5+, and Ta.sup.5+ ; X comprises Si, S, P, V or mixtures thereof; 0.ltoreq.x.ltoreq.1; and 0.ltoreq.d, t, q, r.ltoreq.1, where at least one of d, t, q, and r is not 0.