Electric-van retrofitter Azure Dynamics seeks bankruptcy protection in Canada
DETROIT -- Azure Dynamics LLC, which retrofits vehicles with electric powertrains, said it filed for bankruptcy protection in Canada on Tuesday after failing to secure more funding.
The retrofitter of electric powertrains for Ford Motor Co. said it also halted production of its electrified Ford Transit Connect vans after years of losses.
Ford markets the vans at some North American and European dealers.
Elwood told The Wall Street Journal that Azure is in talks with customers and suppliers to restart output.
Juris Pagrabs, vice president of investor relations, also told the paper that Azure's best chance of resuming production rests with another company that would purchases the EV assembly business.
Without a buyer, production would likely be permanently halted, the Journal reported.
The company is reorganizing to be an engineering and consulting firm and is seeking buyers, the paper also said.
The company was founded in British Columbia before moving to the Detroit area in 2008.
After the announcement, Azure laid off 120 of its 160 employees in Oak Park, Mich.; Boston; Vancouver, British Columbia; and the United Kingdom, said Mike Elwood, the company's vice president of marketing.
Azure planned a stock offering of between $12 million and $20 million to U.S. and Canadian investors. But this month, the Ontario Securities Commission rejected its filings.
The inability to secure additional liquidity forced Azure to file for bankruptcy protection, CEO Scott Harrison wrote in an email.
This month, Azure announced more sales of its electric Transit Connect, totaling $32 million over the past 12 months.
But the startup never turned a profit.
Azure needed to generate $50 million to $60 million in annual revenue to become profitable, Harrison told Crain's in past interviews.
In the quarter ending Sept. 30, 2011, Azure reported a loss of $9.84 million on revenue of $12.43 million.
The company posted $38 million in revenues in 2011 and sold about 800 vehicles.
Milwaukee-based Johnson Controls Inc. invested more than $6 million in Azure in 2010. The Michigan Economic Growth Authority also approved $1.3 million in state tax credits for the company.
AM General LLC retrofitted Azure's Transit Connect vans at its Livonia, Mich., plant.
AM General was not immediately available for comment.