Solar

Solar Equipment Supplier GT Advanced Technologies Files for Chapter 11

New Hampshire-based GT Advanced Technologies filed for Chapter 11 restructuring, the company said in a statement today.

GT expects the court will authorize the company to continue to conduct business as usual while it devotes renewed efforts to resolve its current issues and develops a reorganization plan.

GT indicated that as of September 29, 2014 it had approximately $85 million in cash. In addition, it is now seeking debtor-in-possession financing, which, once obtained, would provide the company with an immediate source of additional funds. These funding sources will enable GT to satisfy the customary obligations associated with the daily operation of its business, including the timely payment of employee wages and other obligations.

In June of this year, GT announced that it would be supplying its HiCz200 furnaces to Qatar Solar Energy’s (QSE’s) integrated PV manufacturing project in Doha. HiCz is GT’s proprietary next-generation monocrystalline PV puller that is capable of growing both p-type and n-type monocrystalline ingots. GT said that the HiCz continuous feeding growth process offers advantages over traditional batch Cz furnaces making it particularly well suited for the production of n-type ingots. The HiCz growth process produces longer ingots with greater material uniformity and lower resistivity, said the company, therefore lowering the cost of wafering.

Last year, GT announced that it had contracted with Apple to supply equipment to make Sapphire material, which is used to make the tougher, scratch-resistant camera lens on newer iPhones. Apple purchased a “new” manufacturing facility in Mesa, Arizona (a former First Solar plant) and moved that portion of the GT Advanced Technologies business there.

Bloomberg news said that GT’s bankruptcy shows that a partnership with the iPhone maker couldn’t assure success for its business of manufacturing lab-grown sapphire used to make mobile-device screens sturdier.

GT was also struggling as far back at 2012, when it laid off 25 percent of its workforce in conjunction with the US-China trade case.  

“GT has a strong and fundamentally sound underlying business,” said Tom Gutierrez, president and chief executive officer of GT. “Today’s filing does not mean we are going out of business; rather, it provides us with the opportunity to continue to execute our business plan on a stronger footing, maintain operations of our diversified business, and improve our balance sheet.

“We are convinced that the rehabilitative process of chapter 11 is the best way to reorganize, protect our company and provide a path to our future success. We remain committed to our roots in innovation and our diversification strategy. We plan to continue to operate as a technology leader across our core set of businesses.”

As a result of the filing, and as is customary with public companies, NASDAQ may temporarily halt trading in the company’s stock pending the receipt of additional information on the company’s financial condition. The company is cooperating with NASDAQ and will be providing any requested information as promptly as possible.

Lead image: Bankruptcy via Shutterstock