Altair plans sale of $15 million in additional shares

Altair Nanotechnologies of Reno hopes to raise as much as $15 million through the sale of additional common stock.

The company last week filed a registration statement for the fresh offering with the Securities and Exchange Commission. It hired Thomas Weisel Partners LLC of San Francisco as underwriter, and the brokerage firm will sell the shares from time to time in open-market or block transactions.

The company assumes Thomas Weisel will sell the new shares at 59 cents a share, which would mean issuance of about 25.4 million new shares. Altair had 105.4 million shares outstanding last month.

The company's stock was trading at 45 cents a share last week.

The company, which had $12.3 million in cash on hand at the end of March, said it needs additional capital to continue testing and development and prepare for potential purchase orders for its energy-storage systems.

Altair, which never has posted a full-year profit, lost $22.9 million in 2009 and lost $6.1 million in the first quarter of this year.

The company also plans a reverse split within the next year. The terms of the reverse split haven't been decided, although Altair's board is authorized to set the ratio between one share for three existing shares to one share for 10 existing shares.

Altair, which employs about 100 at its Reno headquarters and a manufacturing facility at Anderson, Ind., is developing lithium-ion batteries for applications ranging from electric vehicles to utility energy management.


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