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Fisker Said to Miss First Energy Department Loan Payment

Fisker Automotive Inc., the troubled electric-car maker, missed its first payment on a $529 million U.S. Energy Department loan, according to an agency official.

Fisker, based in Anaheim, California, was supposed to make the payment yesterday on about $193 million it had drawn down from the loan. The Energy Department official asked not to be identified because information about the loan isn’t public.

The agency recovered $21 million on April 11 from Fisker’s “reserve account” that wasn’t part of the loan amount, Aoife McCarthy, an Energy Department spokeswoman, said by e-mail. The agency cut off Fisker’s access to its loan in June 2011 when the carmaker failed to meet production milestones. On April 5, Fisker dismissed about three-quarters of its 200 workers.

“They’re not saying anything today,” spokesman Tony Knight of Sitrick & Co., an outside public relations agency representing Fisker, said yesterday in response to inquiries about the loan payment. “The next thing will be Wednesday at the hearing,” he said by telephone.

Henrik Fisker, the company’s former executive chairman and founder, Tony Posawatz, the chief executive officer, and Bernhard Koehler, the chief operating officer, are scheduled to testify tomorrow at a hearing of a subcommittee of the Oversight and Government Reform Committee in the U.S. House of Representatives.

Nicholas Whitcombe, supervisory senior investment officer at the Energy Department, is also scheduled to appear before the panel, which has criticized the agency for loans to other companies, including failed California solar-panel maker Solyndra LLC, which entered bankruptcy liquidation in 2011.

Fisker made about 2,500 of its $103,000 plug-in Karmas before halting production last year. The halt disrupted its plans to use its U.S. loan to restart a shuttered Delaware factory owned by the predecessor of General Motors Co. The Karmas it produced were assembled in Finland.

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