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Apple’s sapphire glass supplier GT Advanced Technologies files for bankruptcy

GT Advanced Technologies, one of Apple's suppliers of sapphire glass, has filed for voluntary bankruptcy, but has dismissed claims it will soon go out of business.

The manufacturer, whose subsidiaries also filed for bankruptcy, listed assets and liabilities in excess of $1 billion (£622 million) including $85 million (£52.7 million) in cash in its Chapter 11 of the Bankruptcy Code petition.

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Tom Gutierrez, president and CEO of GT Advanced Technologies, stated that despite the filing, the company would continue its fundamentally sound underlying business.

"Today's filing does not mean we are going out of business; rather, it provides us with the opportunity to continue to execute our business plan on a stronger footing, maintain operations of our diversified business, and improve our balance sheet," he said.

"We are convinced that the rehabilitative process of chapter 11 is the best way to reorganise, protect our company and provide a path to our future success. We remain committed to our roots in innovation and our diversification strategy. We plan to continue to operate as a technology leader across our core set of businesses."

Sapphire glass is an extremely durable crystal, second only to diamond in terms of its hardness. It is artificially produced by a number of companies, with GT's contract with Apple worth approximately $578 million (£359 million).

The material is predominantly used in the home buttons and camera lenses of Apple's iPhone 5S, 6 and 6 Plus handsets, while two Apple Watch models are also set to feature a sapphire glass screen next year.

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There was speculation that the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus would use the material for their entire displays, but Apple eventually decided to use ion-strengthened glass for its flagship smartphone release.