GT Advanced Technologies and Apple have reached a settlement agreement under which GT will wind down its sapphire materials production in the company’s Mesa, AZ and Salem, MA locations. The company indicated that it will exit from the market as a producer of sapphire materials and will refocus its business as an equipment supplier, manufacturing and developing sapphire growth systems and processes.
Under the terms of the settlement agreement, which is subject to approval by the Bankruptcy Court, GT will be released from all exclusivity obligations under its various agreements with Apple. GT will retain ownership of all production, ancillary and inventory assets located in Mesa, and Apple is provided with a mechanism for recovering its US$439 million pre-payment made to GT over a period of up to four years without interest, solely from a portion of the proceeds from ASF sales.
The agreement provides for a mutual release of any and all claims by both parties. As a result of the agreed upon terms, GT retains control of its intellectual property and will be able to sell its sapphire growth and fabrication technology, including ASF and Hyperion, without restrictions.
GT and Apple will continue their technical exchange involving the development of processes for growing next generation sapphire boules as GT continues to build on its successfully deployed ASF115Kg technology and expand its range above 165Kg.
As a result of the decision to wind down its sapphire materials operations, earlier this week GT initiated the process of shutting down the Mesa facility and approximately 650 Mesa employees have been laid off. A group of Mesa employees will remain on board to help with the wind down of the facility over the coming months. The company expects that there will be additional reductions-in-force implemented in the coming days, which will impact its Salem, MA, Merrimack, NH and select Asia locations.