MERRIMACK, N.H., Oct. 23, 2014 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- GT Advanced Technologies Inc. (OTC Pink:GTATQ) and Apple have reached a settlement agreement under which GT will wind down its sapphire materials production in the company's Mesa, AZ and Salem, MA locations. The company indicated that it will exit from the market as a producer of sapphire materials and will refocus its business as an equipment supplier, manufacturing and developing sapphire growth systems and processes.
Under the terms of the settlement agreement, which is subject to approval by the Bankruptcy Court, GT will be released from all exclusivity obligations under its various agreements with Apple. GT will retain ownership of all production, ancillary and inventory assets located in Mesa and Apple is provided with a mechanism for recovering its $439 million pre-payment made to GT over a period of up to four years without interest, solely from a portion of the proceeds from ASF® sales. The agreement provides for a mutual release of any and all claims by both parties. As a result of the agreed upon terms, GT retains control of its intellectual property and will be able to sell its sapphire growth and fabrication technology, including ASF and Hyperion™, without restrictions.
GT and Apple will continue their technical exchange involving the development of processes for growing next generation sapphire boules as GT continues to build on its successfully deployed ASF115Kg technology and expand its range above 165Kg.
"We are pleased with the settlement that we have negotiated with Apple," said Tom Gutierrez, president and chief executive officer. "We realize that our filing for Chapter 11 protection has caused uncertainty and hardship for many of our important stakeholders. We have been working diligently to develop a restructuring plan that will allow us to emerge from Chapter 11 as quickly as possible and with the operating flexibility and resources to position GT for long-term success. This agreement with Apple is an important step in that direction as it will allow us to monetize our advanced sapphire growth and fabrication technologies in an unrestricted manner. In addition to continuing to sell our industry leading sapphire equipment, we remain committed to advancing our Merlin™, Hyperion™ and next-generation PV and polysilicon solar solutions."
As a result of the decision to wind down its sapphire materials operations, earlier this week GT initiated the process of shutting down the Mesa facility and approximately 650 Mesa employees have been laid off. A group of Mesa employees will remain on board to help with the wind down of the facility over the coming months. The company expects that there will be additional reductions-in-force implemented in the coming days, which will impact its Salem, MA, Merrimack, NH and select Asia locations.
"We recognize and regret the impact that these actions have on our valued employees and their families and we are committed to supporting them through this transition," Gutierrez concluded.
A redacted version of the Settlement Agreement is attached to this press release: http://media.globenewswire.com/cache/25489/file/29707.pdf
GT will file its motion seeking bankruptcy court approval of the settlement agreement on Monday October 27, 2014, and the Bankruptcy Court is scheduled to hear such motion on November 25, 2014.
About GT Advanced Technologies Inc.
GT Advanced Technologies Inc. is a leading diversified technology company producing advanced materials and innovative crystal growth equipment for the global consumer electronics, power electronics, solar and LED industries. Its technical innovations accelerate the use of advanced materials, enabling a new generation of products across this diversified set of global markets. For additional information about GT Advanced Technologies, please visit www.gtat.com.
Some of the information in this press release relates to future expectations, plans and prospects for the Company's business and industry that constitute "forward-looking statements" for the purposes of the safe-harbor provisions of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. In some cases, forward-looking statements can be identified by terminology such as "may," "will," "could," "should," "expect," "plan," "project," "intend," "anticipate," "believe," "estimate," "predict," "potential," "pursue," "target," "continue," the negative of such terms or other comparable terminology. Forward-looking statements include, but are not limited to the following: the Company will wind down its sapphire materials production in the company's Mesa, AZ and Salem, MA locations; the Company will exit from the market as a producer of sapphire materials and will refocus its business as an equipment supplier, manufacturing and developing sapphire growth systems and processes; the Company will retain control of its intellectual property and will be able to sell its sapphire growth and fabrication technology, including ASF and Hyperion™, without restrictions; the Company and Apple will continue their technical exchange involving the development of processes for growing next generation sapphire boules as the Company continues to build on its successfully deployed ASF115Kg technology and expand its range above 165Kg; the agreement with Apple will allow the Company to monetize its advanced sapphire growth and fabrication technologies in an unrestricted manner; and the Company expects that there will be additional reductions-in-force implemented in the coming days, which will impact its Salem, MA, Merrimack, NH and select Asia locations. These forward-looking statements are not a guarantee of performance and these statements involve certain risks and uncertainties that may be beyond the Company's control and may cause actual future results to differ materially from our current expectations both in connection with the settlement agreement with Apple, the Chapter 11 filings and the Company's business and financial prospects. Statements of management's expectations, including its ability to successfully restructure, to address its financial challenges, obtain debtor-in-possession financing, the ability to address important issues in an orderly way and to make the Company stronger and more competitive are based on current assumptions and expectations. No assurance can be made that these events will come to fruition. Factors that could affect our results include, but are not limited to: (i) market demand for the Company's equipment tools (including ASFs), (ii) the ability of the Company and its subsidiaries to continue as a going concern, (iii) the ability of the Company to obtain debtor-in-possession financing in adequate amounts; (iv) the ability of the Company and its subsidiaries to obtain Bankruptcy Court approval with respect to motions in the Chapter 11 cases, (v) the ability of the Company and its subsidiaries to prosecute, develop and consummate one or more plans of reorganization with respect to the Chapter 11 cases, and (vi) the effects of the bankruptcy filing on the Company and its subsidiaries and the interests of various creditors, equity holders and other constituents. Other factors that may cause actual events to differ materially from those expressed or implied by the forward-looking statements and various other risks are outlined in GT Advanced Technologies Inc.'s filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission, including the statements under the heading "Risk Factors" in the Company's Quarterly Report on Form 10-Q for the quarter ended June 28, 2014 and the Company's Annual Report on Form 10-K for the fiscal year ended December 31, 2013. Statements in this press release should be evaluated in light of these important factors. The statements in this press release represent GT Advanced Technologies Inc.'s expectations and beliefs as of the date of this press release. GT Advanced Technologies Inc. anticipates that subsequent events and developments may cause these expectations and beliefs to change. GT Advanced Technologies Inc. is under no obligation to, and expressly disclaims any such obligation to, update or alter its forward-looking statements, whether as a result of new information, future events, or otherwise.
Source:GT Advanced Technologies