GT Advanced agrees to pay off $439M debt to Apple

Apple’s erstwhile sapphire supplier, GT Advanced Technologies, has come to an agreement to pay off its $439 million debt, The Wall Street Journal reports. GT Advanced contracted with Apple in late 2013 to open a plant in Arizona to produce sapphire for Apple’s display screens and Touch ID sensors with financial backing from Apple to help fund the plant’s startup costs. However, GT Advanced ultimately struggled to get sapphire production going and filed for bankruptcy late last year. After some legal wrangling, the two companies came to an agreement, with GT given four years interest-free to repay its $439 million loan to Apple by selling its sapphire furnaces.
Last year’s settlement has now been approved by the courts, which call for GT’s equipment to be auctioned off by Nov. 23 with the proceeds divided. While GT will apparently try to hold on to as many as 600 sapphire-making furnaces, court papers indicate that the company is prepared to auction off what it can and abandon whatever else cannot be removed from the facility. Anything not sold by GT will be handed over directly to Apple, which will scrap the equipment and extinguish the loan made by Apple to GT.

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