GT Advanced Technologies Inc (NASDAQ:GTAT) shares took a nosedive today after the company revealed that it has filed for chapter 11 bankruptcy, plunging by 91% to less than $1 a share. All of Wall Street was shocked by the news, especially because GT had such a close relationship with Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL).
But is that relationship gone now? Raymond James analysts believes today’s bankruptcy filing suggests that it has crumbled, lowering its price target from $18.57 in late August.
GT Advanced Technologies breaks with Apple?
In a report dated Oct. 6, 2014, analyst Pavel Molchanov notes that GT Advanced Technologies Inc (NASDAQ:GTAT) management did not say why they decided that the company should file for bankruptcy. He expects more information to be revealed after its filings are released to the public. However, he suspects that there was a “fundamental, severe breakdown in the relationship between Apple and GT.”
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The analyst also offers some suggestions about why the two companies’ relationship may have broken down. For example, he said Apple might have just chosen another sapphire glass manufacturer “for purely business reasons.” Another possibility is that GT Advanced Technologies Inc (NASDAQ:GTAT)’s fabrication plant saw technical problems that resulted in the company not being able to meet its obligations to Apple.
Disappointments for GTAT
The analyst has had an Underperform rating on GT Advanced Technologies since August, but he said that was based on unanswered questions about the deal with Apple. He also thought the company’s stock was overpriced at that time, but he never thought GTAT would file for bankruptcy.
When Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) unveiled the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus last month, analysts from multiple firms noted that the company did not incorporate sapphire glass into either of the phones. This was a huge disappointment for GT Advanced Technologies Inc (NASDAQ:GTAT) , as Apple used the glass only in the smaller screens for the Apple Watch rather than for the large smartphone displays.
Molchanov noted that GT avoided making any public comments since the unveiling of the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus. The company was also supposed to provide a business update last week but then postponed it to today. He believes the delay was because GT was negotiating with Apple as recently as last week but the breakthrough the company hoped to reach did not happen.
What’s next for GTAT?
Whatever happened between Apple and GT, the Raymond James analyst said it’s clear that GT ran out of money after burning $250 million in cash in the third quarter alone after building its fabrication plant. The company had $85 million in cash on hand as of Sept. 30, compared to its operating expenses of $42.5 million in the second quarter, which means GT needs cash fast to keep the doors open.
GT Advanced Technologies Inc (NASDAQ:GTAT) said it will keep conducting “business as usual as it works to meet current obligations and develop its reorganization plan.” However, Molchanov notes that it’s questionable whether GT’s capital equipment customers would “feel comfortable” purchasing equipment from a company that has declared bankruptcy.
In addition, the analyst points out that GT saw only $31 million in revenue from its solar business in the first half of this year. As a result, he says the non-sapphire part of GT doesn’t have much value.
Will Apple take GT’s fab?
He also questions whether Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) will be able to take over GT Advanced Technologies Inc (NASDAQ:GTAT) ‘s sapphire fabrication plant in Arizona. He notes that the fab was collateral against Apple’s prepayment, which GT is supposed to pay back over five years starting next year. As of June 30, Apple had loaned the company $350 million, so the company could have some claim on the facility.
As a result, the analyst says that while he’s not in apposition to estimate just how much GT Advanced Technologies Inc (NASDAQ:GTAT) ‘s debt-holders will be able to recover, he thinks the company’s shares are “almost certainly worthless and will likely end up being delisted. “