Auto parts supplier Lear files for Chapter 11 reorganization

Automotive parts supplier Lear filed for bankruptcy protection on Tuesday after receiving support from lenders and bondholders to reorganize.

The maker of vehicle seats and electronics missed an interest payment on its bond debt last week and revealed its intention to seek Chapter 11 reorganization.

The Southfield, Mich.-based company made the filing in New York and listed $1.3 billion in assets and $4.5 billion in liabilities. It said subsidiaries outside the U.S. and Canada are not part of the filing.

Auto parts suppliers have been hammered by the economic downturn as consumers continue to avoid buying cars and trucks and automakers slash production. The Chapter 11 filings by General Motors and Chrysler Group and the idling of most of their factories have dealt a particularly hard blow.

Lear, which posted $13.6 billion in sales for 2008, is heavily dependent on the struggling markets in North America (36% of sales) and Europe (49% of sales). GM gm and Ford f are its largest customers, accounting for a combined 40% of its sales.

On Tuesday, Lear said it's hoping for an "expedited" bankruptcy process. The partsmaker said it has support from more than half its bondholders and about 69% of its secured lenders for its reorganization plan, which it plans to submit to the court within 60 days.

In its filing, Lear listed its top 50 creditors. Its biggest creditor is the Bank of New York Mellon, which holds nearly $1.3 billion in bond debt. Among other parts suppliers, Milwaukee-based Johnson Controls was the largest creditor, at about $5 million.

Shares of Lear, which trade on over-the-counter markets since the NYSE delisted it, closed Tuesday down 2% at 28 cents.

Lear previously received a commitment for $500 million in debtor-in-possession loans to finance its bankruptcy from a group of lenders led by JPMorgan jpm and Citigroup c. It has asked the bankruptcy court to allow it to continue to provide pay and benefits for its workers.

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