Apple says surprised by GT’s bankruptcy filing

By Noel Randewich

SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) – Apple Inc said on Wednesday it was surprised by supplier GT Advanced Technologies Inc’s bankruptcy filing this week, and is now considering its next steps.

GT Advanced, slated to supply scratch-resistant sapphire displays from a new Arizona factory Apple is helping bankroll, filed for bankruptcy on Monday but has offered little explanation as to why.

In the iPhone maker’s first public response, it said it was working with Arizona officials on its next moves.

“We are focused on preserving jobs in Arizona following GT’s surprising decision and we will continue to work with state and local officials as we consider our next steps,” spokesman Chris Gaither said.

GT’s first Chapter 11 bankruptcy court hearing is set for Thursday. The New Hampshire-based company has said it will then explain what led to Monday’s surprise bankruptcy filing that wiped out 90 percent of the sapphire supplier’s market value.

Until the hearing, industry insiders and Wall Street analysts have been left to speculate as to what triggered the move. Apple’s supply chain is said to be one of the best-run in the consumer electronics business.

GT’s shares had more than doubled in the nine months between November’s announcement of the new Arizona plant and the launch of Apple’s new large-screen iPhones on Sept. 9. Investors had hoped GT would replicate Corning Inc’s success with Gorilla Glass.

Shares of GT were up 30 percent at $1.57 on Wednesday morning. On Monday morning, the shares opened at $11.06.

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