El Segundo-based Aura Systems Inc., a maker of mobile power sources (that's its latest incarnation, anyway), is one of those outfits that seem to have nine lives.

If there was a television show named "Corporate Survivor," its premiere episode would be on Aura Systems, a one-time Nasdaq company now traded on the bulletin board, under the symbol AURA.OB.

Indeed, last week Aura Systems showed what clinging to life is all about, filing an S-3 statement with the Securities and Exchange Commission to raise another $7.8 million in stock.

Over the past 15 years, Aura has always posted red ink, but has been a tiger at issuing stocks and bonds to finance the ever-bright future, raising nearly $130 million.

Shareholders have gotten clawed along the way, as new equity issues and convertible debt diluted share value, along with chronic losses. One of several black-letter days for shareholders was in June 1999, when Aura Systems told the SEC that its annual 10-K report would be filed late because the company didn't have the money to pay the auditors.

Most recently, Aura Systems reported a net loss of more than $4.7 million on just $501,803 in revenues for the quarter ended Nov. 30, 2000.

But through it all, Aura Systems has survived. And astonishingly, although Aura Systems' stock was trading for 48 cents a share last week off from $5 a share in 1996 it still has a market capitalization of more than $129 million.

And once again, chairman and founder Zvi Kurtzman, 54, is rallying the troops, this time behind Aura Systems "AuraGen," which he says is a new kind of mobile power source that solves a lot of the world's electricity problems. In a nutshell, AuraGen generators can be hooked up to automobile engines (similar to alternators) to produce electric power, at both 110 and 220 volts, claims Kurtzman.

Kurtzman's latest vision is one in which automobile engines play a role in solving the nation's power crisis.

Speaking at his latest annual meeting in January, Kurtzman said, "The world produces 50 million new cars and light trucks per year, along with 400,000 heavy-duty trucks. The 'installed' base in North America is over 200 million vehicles. This installed base provides an opportunity to generate a very large amount of power.

"For example, 100,000 AuraGens each generating six kilowatts of power can provide 600 megawatts per hour, the equivalent of a major power generating facility.


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