Takata to file for bankruptcy soon – reports

Takata, the airbag and automotive parts manufacturer, will reportedly file for bankruptcy this month, with the company weighed down by fines and costs related to its defective and deadly airbag inflators.

Sources have told Reuters, the company will begin bankruptcy proceedings in both Japan and the US next week.

According to sources who have spoken to the Nikkei, these bankruptcy filings are due later this month.

Both publications agree, though, that Key Safety Systems, an American parts maker owned by China’s Ningbo Joyson Electronic, will purchase Takata’s parts making operations, including its airbag production facilities, as a going concern for 180 billion yen ($2.2 billion).

What remains of Takata would, reportedly, be responsible for liabilities related to the company’s faulty airbag inflators. At least 16 people have died as a result of the company’s exploding airbag inflators, with at least 180 peopled injured.

Reuters understands the deal with Key Safety Systems may not be completed before Takata files for bankruptcy.

Publication of these reports has caused trading of Takata’s stock on the Tokyo Stock Exchange to be suspended. At its close, the company had a market value of around US$360 million ($480 million).

In March this year, the company pled guilty to the US federal court, and agreed to pay out US$1 billion ($1.3 billion) in fines, and compensation to automakers and victims.

The company has already paid its US$25 million ($33 million) fine to the US government, and injected the required US$125 million ($167 million) into the victims’ compensation fund. The US$850 million ($1.1 billion) owed to automakers is due in 2018, or within five days of finding a financial saviour.

As of March, Takata has listed liabilities 397.8 billion yen ($4.8 billion), although the Nikkei estimates the company’s overall liabilities to be around US$9 billion ($12 billion), with the recall of up to 100 million airbag inflators said to cost the company around 1.3 trillion yen ($15.8 billion).

If the figures from the Nikkei are correct, Takata’s impending bankruptcy will be the largest in Japanese corporate history, dwarfing the current record holder, Panasonic Plasma Display, which had liabilities of around 500 billion yen ($6 billion) when it was wound up last year.