GT Advanced requests permission to shut down sapphire plant

GT Advanced (furnaces, Pocketnow 001)

Apple partner GT Advanced has asked the court’s permission to “wind down” operations at its manufacturing plant, reports Recode. The news comes less than a year after GT announced its high-profile deal to make sapphire for Apple, and just a few days after it filed for bankruptcy.

On Monday, the company shocked investors by announcing that it had filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection. It’s believed that GT spent most of its cash trying to produce sapphire display covers in time for the iPhone 6, but fell short of expectations and lost out on the order.

Apple and GT Advanced announced their partnership last fall, which involved a $578 million loan to GT to get a large sapphire plant up and running in Arizona. Little else is known about the deal, but it was just reported that Apple withheld its final $139 million payment on the loan.

This story continues to get weirder by the day, with GT requesting that its court documents be sealed and its hearing be closed off from the public. Additionally, its CEO is being investigated for insider trading, for selling a large amount of stock just days ahead of the iPhone 6 unveiling.

Apple, for its part, says it was surprised by the bankruptcy announcement, and that it’s been working with GT to solve technical problems so it can move forward, and release the final $140 million payment. It also notes that it’s working with Arizona officials to save jobs at the factory.

GT’s request to shut down its sapphire plant will be heard by U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Henry Boroff on October 15 in Massachusetts.