Battery Maker Exide Files for Chapter 11 Bankruptcy

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Auto battery maker Exide Technologies Inc. (NASDAQ: XIDE) filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection this morning. The company is on the hook for a $31 million interest payment in August and $52 million convertible notes maturing in September.

To fund its restructuring, Exide has received a loan of $500 million from J.P. Morgan Chase & Co. (NYSE: JPM). The Wall Street Journal notes that this is Exide’s second bankruptcy filing, having filed previously in 2004.

The road to ruin was paved in 2010 when the company lost the contract to supply car batteries to Wal-Mart Stores Inc. (NYSE: WMT) to competitor Johnson Controls Inc. (NYSE: JCI). Exide never really recovered the hit to its revenues.

On top of that, the company’s California lead recycling plant was shut down in April for violating state regulations. At that time the company hired Lazard to provide advice on financing alternatives.

But the handwriting was on the wall. Exide’s shares have toppled from more than $12 in 2010 to under $2.00 last April to $0.20 last Friday. Shares are trading at $0.10 in the premarket this morning, a new low. The 52-week high is $3.77.

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