The stock of A123 Systems Inc. closed today at $20.29 a share - 50 percent over its opening price.
It was a rare and impressive showing for any company making its debut in the public stock market, let alone for one that has recently posted losses.
Headquartered in Watertown, A123 makes batteries that can be used to power electric cars.
Earlier today, before the market opened, the company announced that its initial public offering of 28,180,501 shares of its common stock would be priced at $13.50 per share. By the end of the day the price had risen by $6.79 a share, with 41 million shares being traded.
Shares in the A123 IPO were originally estimated to be priced within a range of $8 to $9.50 per share. Updated offering documents filed earlier this week increased the range to $10 to $11.50 per share, a Business Update post from yesterday noted.
Today's trading price means the company could net nearly $400 million - significantly more than the $250 million minimum it was hoping to raise.
"It's going to give us the capital that we need to expand the business and it's going to provide comfort to our customers," said A123 Systyems chief executive David Vieau.
In the past, he added, customers have questioned whether the company had the "firepower we needed to scale up our battery," Vieau said. "And we just demonstrated that we do."
The shares began trading today on the Nasdaq Global Market under the ticker symbol "AONE," the company said in a press release.
The company now will almost certainly exceed the $250 million minimum it was hoping to raise with its first public offering offering of stock. At least a portion of the money raised will be used to match government funding, including a $249.1 million stimulus grant awarded to A123 Systems by the US Department of Energy for a manufacturing plant in Michigan.
A123 Systems has received more attention as interest in advanced battery technology has grown, spurred by last summer's high oil prices, as well as growing concerns about global warming and energy independence.
The company's initial public offering is considered by some as a bellwether for how successful the emerging advanced battery industry will be as companies expand production of lithium ion products meant to power everything from cordless power tools to cars and the electric grid.
Bruce Harrison, an automotive consultant at Lexington forecasting firm IHS Global Insight, said that the industry's success as an alternative power source for cars depends on several factors.
"One, the cost has to come down for these batteries," Harrison said. "Second, the power density has to increase to the point where the application of a battery means the vehicles operate similarly to the way an internal combustion engine does -- meaning, you can get 300 miles out of them [before recharging]."