Sapphire Maker Auctions Equipment to Repay $439 Million Apple Loan

Apple and GT Advanced have reached a new agreement under which the failed sapphire glass supplier will finally free itself from the $439 million it owes to the iPhone maker.


Under a previous settlement, GT Advanced gained time to sell the sapphire-making furnaces that anchored Apple’s load and use the money to get out of debt. However, the months went by fast, and GT Advanced’s situation remained unchanged because it couldn’t sell any of the more than 2,000 sapphire-making furnaces installed in its Mesa, Arizona-based Apple facility.

Since GT aims to get the furnaces out of the plant by the end of the year, Apple and GT have recently agreed that the fastest way to do that is to invite bidders at an auction. The date is now set for November 23.

According to court papers obtained by the Wall Street Journal, GT Advanced was to keep as much as 600 sapphire-making furnaces, the rest being auctioned. Anything not sold will be handed over to Apple, which has agreed to “scrap the equipment and extinguish the loan.” And so ends the story of a failed partnership with Apple.

The new agreement awaits the bankruptcy judge’s approval.