| WILMINGTON, Del.
WILMINGTON, Del. Nov 25 The bankruptcy of
Fisker Automotive could end up costing the U.S. government much
more than the $168 million it loaned to the maker of the Karma
plug-in hybrid sports car.
According to its bankruptcy filing on Friday, Fisker owns
tax breaks worth $320 million.
Fisker's bankruptcy papers said the Southern
California-based company plans to sell its automotive operations
to a business affiliated with Hong Kong tycoon Richard Li, but
it will hold on to the tax breaks after it emerges from
Fisker piled up some $800 million in net operating losses
in recent years, which have a future cash benefit worth
approximately $320 million, according to the bankruptcy filing.
That lost tax revenue would add to taxpayers' pain from
The U.S. Department of Energy extended the company a $529
million credit line in 2009 as part of the Obama
administration's efforts to boost advanced vehicle development
in the United States.
The credit line was frozen in 2011 before it could be fully
Fisker is not the first beneficiary to fail to repay a
government loan and to try to benefit from the tax breaks
generated by the business.
Solar panel maker Solyndra LLC provoked an outcry after its
venture capital backers, Argonaut Private Equity and Madrone
Capital Partners, took control of that company's tax breaks,
which had a potential value of $341 million.
Solyndra filed for bankruptcy protection in September 2011
after receiving a $528 million federal loan.
Other businesses, such as former savings and loan Washington
Mutual, have sold their operations and then emerged from Chapter
11 with little more than net operating losses. The owners then
hope to find a profitable investment and apply the accumulated
tax breaks to avoid future taxes.