Renault SA (Euronext: RNO), the maker of the Fluence ZE electric car for Better Place Inc. says that it was not notified about the closing of the company and its petition for liquidation, and is demanding €65 million, which is owed as a secured creditor. Renault has filed a motion with the Central District Court to be recognized as a party to the liquidation, and for the court to order Better Place to hand over all the court documents to Renault's attorneys.
Renault states that it has a lien amounting to €65 million, and that it was examining the rest of Better Place's debts to it. The debt is for the supply of batteries for the Fluence ZE electric cars, and the lien is on these batteries.
Renault states, "This motion was filed after the company learned about Better Place's petition for liquidation in the press. The undersigned asked Better Place's attorneys for clarification, because Renault is a secured creditor and wants a copy of the petitions filed, but regrettably this request has not been answered, despite promises to do so."
Renault adds that if necessary, at the same time as the liquidation proceedings, it will file a petition to appoint a receiver to exercise its rights to the electric car batteries.
Owners of Fluence ZE cars purchased from Better Place have also petitioned the court for an urgent hearing on the petition for liquidation before a ruling on the appointment of a liquidator, in order to review options for appointing someone to rehabilitate the company and temporarily operate it, instead of liquidating it. The car buyers say that most of the investment in Better Place was through owners' investments, and therefore the debts to creditors are less that the investment in the company. Under the circumstances, the main victims of the company's liquidation will be the car owners, not the creditors.
"The main victims of the company's collapse are the buyers of the cars, who depend on the company for their operation, and are liable to end up in a hopeless situation with the start of liquidation proceedings," state the car owners in their motion.
The car owners add that, given Better Place's unique character, the possibility of government funding to keep the company operating should be considered.
Published by Globes [online], Israel business news - www.globes-online.com - on May 27, 2013
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