Apple’s ex-sapphire supplier is out of bankruptcy and looking for work


Apple is gobbling up sapphire supplies at an alarming rate of knots. Photo:
Guess who's back?
Photo: GT Advanced Technologies

GT Advanced Technologies — a.k.a. the disastrous sapphire supplier which was hired by Apple to build iPhone displays, before collapsing into bankruptcy — has announced that it has reemerged from Chapter 11 as a newly-reorganized company with a “solid balance sheet,” and “renewed strategy focused on growth in the solar and sapphire industries.”

Fancy being its first new client?

The collapse of GT was one of the big stories of 2014, with reports of everything from massive mismanagement and technical failure to the company’s CEO allegedly making $10 million offloading his shares ahead of the iPhone 6 event, which revealed the device wouldn’t use sapphire displays (and therefore GT).

GT ran an Arizona sapphire plant, which Apple lend it $578 million to get up and running. However, when the company failed to meet its production requirements, Apple withheld its final $139 million payment, which prompted it to file for bankruptcy.

In a press release published today, new CEO and President David Keck said that: “Our emergence from Chapter 11 marks the start of a new chapter for our company. Through this process, we have resolved the issues which led to our decision to seek bankruptcy court protection. With our strengthened financial flexibility, we will focus on our industry leading capabilities in the solar and sapphire markets.”

The company’s $80 million of exit financing was provided by a group of financial sponsors with combined assets of more than $30 billion.

Does this mean we may finally get our sapphire displays for the iPhone, or has that ship sailed?

Given how badly things ended up last time for Apple when it dealt with GT Advanced Technologies, you couldn’t blame Tim Cook for wanting to give the company a bit of a wide berth until it’s proven itself.



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