Apple sapphire partner GT Advanced asks bankruptcy court to keep confidential documents secret

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As it makes its way through the bankruptcy process, GT Advanced Technologies is hoping to keep as much of the proceedings out of the public eye as it can, asking the court for a private hearing, and also to keep confidential documents sealed.

The requests made by GT Advanced Technologies to a New Hampshire bankruptcy court were revealed on Thursday by Reuters. Specifically, the company requested that key documents related to an unnamed third-party be kept secret.

Though GT Advanced didn't name who that third-party might be, it's reasonable to presume it could be Apple, who made a significant half-billion-dollar deal with the sapphire maker last year. GT Advanced said that if the documents were to be made public, it may have to pay damages due to existing confidentiality agreements.

GT Advanced also reportedly asked the New Hampshire court for an "in camera" hearing, which would not be open to the public.

Little is actually known about how and why GT Advanced burned through its cash and filed for bankruptcy, though rumors have been swirling all week since the company made its announcement on Monday. Even Apple issued a rare public statement to say its partner's bankruptcy was "surprising."

It was a year ago that Apple announced a $578 million prepayment to GT Advanced Technologies for supply of advanced sapphire material. The company currently uses scratch-resistant sapphire in its iPhone lineup, protecting the Touch ID fingerprint sensor and rear camera lens, while next year two out of the three Apple Watch models will also feature the material.

GT Advanced's deal with Apple apparently fell apart, however, as the company announced on Monday that it had filed for bankruptcy. Subsequent reports have indicated that Apple withheld a $139 million payment to GT Advanced for unknown reasons, though rumors have suggested the company was unable to keep up with Apple's supply needs.

On Wednesday it was said that Apple attempted to help GT Advanced qualify for its final $139 payment, working with the partner in an effort to meet certain technical milestones. But despite Apple's help, the sapphire maker failed to meet the required goals stipulated in its contract.


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