Airbag maker Takata plummets on bankruptcy fears

 20 Jun 2017 - 11:23

Airbag maker Takata plummets on bankruptcy fears
File Photo: Reuters.

AFP

Tokyo: Takata shares dived again Tuesday, losing one-third of their value in just two days of trading on reports the troubled airbag maker will file for bankruptcy protection and sell its assets to a US company.

The embattled stock finished the day at 324 yen, tumbling by nearly 20 percent -- its maximum daily loss limit -- on the Tokyo Stock Exchange, after it plunged 16.5 percent Monday.

Investors bolted for the exit doors after Japan's Nikkei business daily said the company, with liabilities exceeding one trillion yen ($9 billion), would make a formal decision about the bankruptcy filing at a board meeting this month.

Takata, at the centre of the global auto industry's biggest-ever safety recall, was suspended from trading on Friday pending a response to the Nikkei story and other similar reports.

Later Friday Takata said that no decision had been made but "all options" were on the table.

American autoparts maker Key Safety Systems, owned by China's Ningbo Joyson Electronic, will take over the firm's operations, the Nikkei's report on Friday said.

The board of Takata's US-based unit TK Holdings is expected to approve a filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy there this month, it added.

Like on Monday, the shares went untraded for most of Tuesday session's as the number of sell orders swamped buy orders.

Nearly 100 million cars, including about 70 million in the United States, were subject to the airbag recall, the largest in auto history, over the defective Takata airbags. They have been blamed for at least 16 deaths globally.

Global ratings agency Standard and Poor's said Monday that the possible bankruptcy filing by Takata will not immediately impact its rating on Honda, a major Takata customer, as the Japanese automaker has already written down costs linked to the faulty airbags.

Last month four automakers including Toyota and BMW agreed to pay $553 million to settle a US lawsuit over the airbags.

The suit filed in late February claimed the carmakers were aware of the dangerous defects and used the airbags in their vehicles anyway. Nearly 16 million cars were involved.

Takata pleaded guilty to fraud in February and agreed to pay a $1 billion penalty to settle the issue with US regulators.

The Friday reports said a new company created under Key Safety would buy Takata's operations and continue supplying airbags, seat belts and other products.

The downsized Takata would remain responsible for recall-related liabilities, the Nikkei said.