What if the Oil Stops
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|Sam Orez||May 1st 2009|
On May 1, Fuel Systems Solutions of Santa Ana, CA announced that it has agreed to acquire selected assets and technology for compressed natural gas (CNG) refueling products manufactured by FuelMaker Corporation. The sale includes the home refueling appliance marketed under the Phill brand. The announcement came one day after it was suggested in The Cutting Edge News.
The controversial transaction, valued at $7 million, was made possible by a sudden forced bankruptcy engineered by American Honda working through a secret nameless numbered Canadian corporation.
The bankruptcy and sale was the subject of an ongoing investigative series by Edwin Black and The Cutting Edge News. Honda’s plan to severely limit its Civic GX CNG vehicle and refueling proliferation was detailed in the September 2008 book, The Plan. (See the Investigative series here.) The forced bankruptcy stranded thousands of FuelMaker and Phill customers, both in the commercial and consumer world provoking widespread outrage against American Honda, a company which had previously enjoyed a pedestal in the automotive world.
Fuel Systems Solutions was upbeat about the acquisition. "We believe FuelMaker's unique technology, patents and certifications fit well with our turn-key refueling equipment solutions," said Mariano Costamagna, chief executive officer of Fuel Systems Solutions. "The FuelMaker product line addresses both the consumer and commercial markets, which complements our existing refueling solutions for large fleets and gas stations.” He added, "We believe we have significant opportunity to deploy this technology in existing and developing markets, such as the United States, where the natural gas refueling infrastructure is limited," said Matthew Beale, president of Fuel Systems Solutions. "We intend to leverage our global distribution network and original equipment manufacturer (OEM) relationships to further penetrate more established natural gas vehicle markets."
MTM S.r.L., the Italian operating subsidiary of Fuel Systems Solutions, Inc., has agreed to two separate but related purchase agreements to facilitate the transaction consisting of an agreement to acquire assets from the receiver for FuelMaker Corporation, which still needs court approval, and an executed agreement to acquire assets from American Honda Motor Co., Inc. As part of the purchase agreements, Fuel Systems Solutions has agreed to fulfill certain FuelMaker service obligations and has assumed certain outstanding purchase orders. In an additional agreement with American Honda, the company has made provisions to license technology back to American Honda under certain circumstances to support its natural gas vehicle activities. Those “certain circumstances” were not immediately disclosed.
The sale is expected to finalize in the second quarter of 2009.
The announcement by Fuel Systems Solutions did not address the pre-existing exclusive Italian dealership license secured years earlier by the Italian firm IMI.