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Apple Sapphire Supplier GT Seeks Court Permission to Close Plant

The company filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection earlier this week.

GT Advanced Technologies

Sapphire crystal maker GT Advanced Technologies, which filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection earlier this week, has asked the court’s permission to “wind down” operations at its manufacturing plant, less than a year after announcing a high-profile deal to supply the material to Apple.

Details were not immediately available, because GT made the request under the seal of privacy, to protect confidential details of a contract with a third party, later identified in court as Apple.

U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Henry Boroff set a hearing for Oct. 15 in Springfield, Mass., to consider the motion.

GT filed for protection from creditors Monday, as it sought to reorganize its finances.

The bankruptcy filing came as a surprise to Apple, which had committed to provide $578 million in advance payments to underwrite the costs of setting up the sapphire manufacturing facility in an Arizona plant it owns.

The iPhone maker had been working with GT to help the company solve technical problems and achieve milestones necessary to receive an anticipated fourth and final payment this month.

A spokesperson for GT did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Apple referred to an earlier statement, in which it said it would work to save jobs in Arizona.

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