Monday, May 04, 2009

The Chrysler Bankruptcy

First off, the bankruptcy petition courtesy of The New York Times is here. Things gets interesting about page 32.

From The Kokomo Tribune comes Fiat impressed with Kokomo facilities:
Representatives from Italian automaker Fiat SpA toured the four Kokomo Chrysler plants and were reportedly impressed with the facilities.

Fiat announced Thursday it would form a partnership with Chrysler LLC that is expected to return the American automaker to profitability.

Fiat has agreed to share its engine and powertrain technology with Chrysler and intends to produce an economical model in the U.S.

Shawn Fain, a representative with United Auto Workers Local 1166, said the tour took place about a month ago.

“They were impressed with the facilities,” Fain said of the Kokomo Transmission Plant, Kokomo Casting Plant and Indiana Transmission Plants I and II. “They wanted to see the facilities to determine if we had the capacity to do the work.”
Which fits with some scuttlebutt I heard last week and some of this gets touched on in the bankruptcy petition.

The New York Times covers the filing with Chrysler Begins Voyage Down Bankruptcy Route:

As part of its reorganization, Chrysler said Friday that it planned to shut eight plants permanently, lay off about 6,500 workers and close an unspecified number of dealerships.

Judge Gonzalez granted Chrysler’s request to use its existing cash management system, which would enable the company to transfer money to other subsidiaries to keep operating.

Lawyers for various constituencies, including banks, car dealerships, hedge funds, parts makers and others have been working around the clock readying their arguments to make sure their interests are protected in court.

Thomas E. Lauria of the law firm White & Case, who represents a committee of the secured creditors, declined to comment to reporters and did not raise any objections to the motions at the hearing. It is still unclear whether the group, which includes Oaktree Capital Management, OppenheimerFunds, Stairway Capital Management, Schultze Asset Management, Group G Capital Partners and the TCW Group, will object to Chrysler’s restructuring plan at the continuation of the case next week.

The lenders, who say they believe they are being treated unfairly in the process, may request that Chrysler be liquidated. But, according to the company’s own analysis, a liquidation would cost more than $2 billion and there are unlikely to be many buyers for Chrysler’s assets.

***

Judge Gonzalez has experience with major bankruptcy cases, having overseen the reorganization of Enron in 2001, which set a record by filing for bankruptcy with $63 billion in assets, and WorldCom in 2002, which topped Enron with $107 billion assets when it filed.

Court documents filed by Chrysler in New York on Thursday showed that Chrysler’s re-emergence from bankruptcy could take until Aug. 28, or four months from now.

Bankruptcy always contains some element of unpredictability, and the debtholders who oppose the new arrangement could argue in court that the company is worth more to them in liquidation.

And also Chrysler Files to Seek Bankruptcy Protection:

But administration officials said they believed that it was highly unlikely that a bankruptcy court judge would side with the minority when those holding 70 percent of the debt had signed off on the arrangement.

Chrysler said its factories would go mostly idle starting Monday, and remain so for the bulk of the process. Auto workers will receive about 80 percent of their base pay during the shutdown. The Treasury is providing $3.3 billion in so-called debtor-in-possession financing, and administration officials said during a conference call with reporters that no jobs would be lost during the bankruptcy.

Any future cuts, they said, would be decided by the new company’s board — which is to include representatives appointed by the union, the administration and the government of Canada, which also lent money — and the successor to the Chrysler chief executive, Robert L. Nardelli, who said he would leave the company at the bankruptcy’s end.

Some older stuff now.
Local unions confident in Obama’s plan (Kokomo Tribune):
UAW Local 1166 representative Shawn Fain didn’t want a bankruptcy to occur at the company at all, nevertheless, he thinks it’s better it happened now.

“[Obama] cares about the families and the thousands of people this affects,” said Fain, who was also a member of the UAW Chrysler National Negotiating Committee. “If this was eight years ago, we wouldn’t be having this conversation at all. We would have been liquidated.

“We hoped to avoid bankruptcy, but it’s here. We are not out of work and we have our jobs. Now, we need to get this [bankruptcy] done as fast as we can so we can get back to work.”



"But some bankruptcy specialists warned that the court process can be unpredictable and difficult to manage in the case of a company as vast as Chrysler. Fearing the worst, for example, the National Automobile Dealers Association, which represents Chrysler dealers, has hired law firm Arnold & Porter to protect dealer investments.

The administration's assertion that the bankruptcy could wrap up within 60 days 'is something I would expect someone who has never been involved in a bankruptcy would say,' said Jean Robertson, chair of business restructuring at Calfee, Halter & Griswold. 'There is nothing typical about this case. It's like Frankenstein, and Frankenstein isn't pretty.'"

Bankrupt Chrysler owes Cummins $43.9M:
"Chrysler LLC owes Cummins Inc. $43.9 million, the ailing automaker disclosed in its bankruptcy filing yesterday, making the southern Indiana company one of its top unsecured creditors.

A Cummins spokesman said some of that money will be covered by the U.S. Treasury Department's new Supplier Support Program, which the company entered last month.

'It's our belief a large percentage of that is going to be covered,' spokesman Mark Land said. 'That program is working. Some of it's already coming our way.'

Chrysler's bankruptcy raises big questions for Cummins, which less than two years ago counted the manufacturer's Dodge Ram pickup as its single-largest customer.

Cummins is the exclusive provider of diesel engines for the heavy-duty Dodge Ram, and it has been working on a new light-duty line."
Meanwhile, Fiat appears to be building an empire out of some other US properties: Amber warning light as Fiat woos German ministers in attempt to take control of Opel.

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