Battery Maker Exide Files for Bankruptcy

Exide Technologies Inc., a maker of automotive lead-acid batteries, has filed for Chapter 11 protection for its U.S. operations after months of escalating financial and operating struggles.The Milton, Ga.-based company says it will continue to supply batteries to its customers during bankruptcy.

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Exide Technologies Inc., a maker of automotive lead-acid batteries, has filed for Chapter 11 protection for its U.S. operations after months of escalating financial and operating struggles.

The Milton, Ga.-based company says it will continue to supply batteries to its customers during bankruptcy. Exide has secured $500 million of debtor-in-possession financing from JPMorgan Chase & Co. to keep it afloat while it reorganizes.

The company has been battered by high lead prices and the loss of about $160 million in annual revenue since Wal-Mart Stores Inc. decided in 2010 to stop selling Exide batteries. The company also has been hurt by the economic slowdown in Europe, where it derives just over half its revenue.

In April state regulators ordered Exide to halt operations at a lead recycling plant in Vernon, Calif., that they allege is emitting toxins. The company says the shutdown and its “poor” financial performance in the fiscal fourth quarter ended March 31 forced it to seek protection from creditors.

In the first nine months of the fiscal year, the company’s net loss more than doubled to $136 million, and operating income plunged 80% to $13 million. Revenue shrank 4% to $2.2 billion

Exide lists assets of $1.9 billion and obligations of $1.1 billion. The company owed a $31 million interest payment in August. Nearly $52 million of its notes mature in September