Troubled green carmaker Fisker seeks to raise more cash

SAN FRANCISCO/DETROIT Wed Aug 15, 2012 7:49pm EDT

SAN FRANCISCO/DETROIT Aug 15 (Reuters) - Fisker Automotive, the maker of the $100,000-plus Karma hybrid sports car, is looking to raise about another $150 million to su rvive un til it can launch production of its second model, a key investor said Wednesday.

The company has already raised more than $1 billion in private financing from venture backers and others since early 2010. But earlier this year, Fisker was denied access to more than half of a $529 million government loan that was the cornerstone of its business plan.

"We need money on our balance sheet" to fund operating expenses, said Ray Lane, a Fisker director and a managing partner at venture firm Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers. "And we need money to fund the development of the next car."

Once Fisker breaks even, the company could pursue an initial public offering or a sale to a strategic investor, which could come in late 2013, Lane said in an interview.

Fisker executives could not be immediately reached for comment.

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

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

Earlier this week, Fisker named its third chief executive this year.

A123, which had run short of cash, said last week that it planned to sell a controlling stake to Chinese auto parts maker Wanxiang for $450 million.

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