OK, I’ve read the court papers filed last week by GT Advanced Technologies in a New Hampshire bankruptcy court.
Not much was revealed about where Apple’s chief supplier of sapphire crystal went wrong, except that GT (GTAT) now finds “oppressive and burdensome” the terms of a contract it happily signed less than a year ago.
But Mark Hibben, writing in Seeking Alpha about the GT “debacle,” has a plausible narrative — and a pretty smart take on where Apple has to go from here.
For Hibben it starts with GT’s announcement in May that it was building a new generation of furnaces capable of producing 40% larger sapphire boules.
Meanwhile Apple still has a watch to build.
Hibben points out that the low end of the Watch line, Watch Sport, isn’t in jeopardy because it doesn’t use sapphire. But the models with sapphire crystals — the steel and gold Apple Watches — may be delayed.
One last thing: According to GT, the nondisclosure agreement it signed with one of its creditors called for a penalty of $50 million for each violation.
That’s one way to enforce a code of silence.