Auto-Parts Supplier Lear Files for Bankruptcy

Automotive parts supplier Lear ( LEA), pressured by the difficulties at automakers General Motors ( GMGMQ) and Ford ( F), filed for bankruptcy protection Tuesday.

The company, which makes automotive seating systems and electronics, said it received support from its bank lenders and bondholders to move forward with its previously announced debt restructuring plan. Lear, and certain of its U.S. and Canadian subsidiaries, filed voluntary petitions in the United States Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of New York. Lear's subsidiaries outside the United States and Canada aren't affected by the Chapter 11 filings.

Last week, Lear said it was still trying to wrest additional support from lenders and bondholders for its restructuring plan. Since then, the company said Tuesday, it has agreements with about 68% in principal amount of its secured lenders and more than 50% in principal amount of bondholders.

Bob Rossiter, Lear's chairman, CEO and president, said in a statement Tuesday that the company expects to submit the restructuring plan to the bankruptcy court within 60 days.

"Our goal is to emerge from this process quickly and with an appropriate capital structure to support our long-term business objectives as a leading global competitor with the financial flexibility to build on our strengths and take advantage of future growth opportunities," Rossiter said.

In its bankruptcy filing, Lear listed total assets of about $1.27 billion and total liabilities of about $4.54 billion, according to Reuters.

On Monday, Lear said it planned to restructure about $3.6 billion in debt.

It announced last week it received a commitment for $500 million in loans to finance its bankruptcy from a group of lenders led by JPMorgan Chase and Citigroup.

Lear, which had $13.6 billion in sales for 2008, is a key supplier for both GM and Ford. The pair represent the company's two largest customers and account for a combined 40% of its sales, according to the Associated Press.

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