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A123 advances on deal to supply battery-storage systems in U.K.

Shares of A123 Systems Inc., a Waltham-based maker of batteries for electric cars and utilities, rose after announcing a contract to supply power-storage systems to a U.K. grid operator.

A123 gained as much as 9.6 percent and was up 8.5 percent to $2.04 in mid-morning trading in New York after saying it would provide six of its grid battery systems to Northern Powergrid, a unit of Iowa-based MidAmerican Energy Holdings Co. that supplies power to more than 3.8 million customers in the U.K.

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The storage systems will manage fluctuations on the grid and will be in operation by the end of this year, according to a statement today.

A123 yesterday fell 24 percent to $1.88, the biggest decline since September 2009, after its largest customer, Fisker Automotive Inc., stopped work on a factory and an analyst downgraded its shares.

Fisker said Feb. 6 that it fired 26 employees and stopped work at the factory it’s developing in Wilmington, Del., to make plug-in electric vehicles after the US Energy Department blocked access to a federal loan.

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