GT Advanced Technologies seeks to sell Hyperion business

$1.1 million sale must be approved by bankruptcy court

GT Advanced Technologies plans to sell its Hyperion technology to a former employee from Massachusetts, who has agreed to hire 17 GTAT workers, if the $1.1 million sale is approved by bankruptcy court – and if a better offer doesn’t come along before then.

The buyer, Neutron Therapeutics Inc., is managed by Theodore Smick, who GTAT employed from November 2012 to February 2015 at its Danvers, Mass., facility, where he helped to develop the technology.

Hyperion involves a high-energy and high-current ion accelerator with applications ranging from the health care to the semiconductor industries, with some 50 patents attached.

Smick would team up with Ian Stewart Buckley, who has controlling interest in Buckley Systems Ltd., a New Zealand company with U.S. headquarters in Rowley, Mass.. Buckley had supplied magnets for GTAT Hyperion equipment before the bankruptcy filing. (Buckley was not owed money when GTAT filed for bankruptcy.)

The proposed $1.1 million sale would be the first good news for the Merrimack-based company, which continues to lose money after filing for bankruptcy last year after an ambitious and failed attempt to supply sapphire for use in Apple’s mobile device.

GTAT said that selling the Hyperion assets at all was “extremely challenging.” Of the 102 parties contacted, only two made an offer, and one withdrew, leaving only Smick.

In August, according to the company’s latest operating report, GTAT lost $8.9 million, bringing the total paper loss to $394 million over the 10 months since the bankruptcy filing on Oct. 6, 2014.

The monthly operating loss was $4.6 million, while the rest was due to $3.4 million in bankruptcy expenses.

At the end of August, GTAT had $120 million in cash, but it still owes hundreds of millions to bondholders and Apple, and has a negative equity of $319 million. One of GTAT’s biggest assets is an estimated $152 million tax credit due to its massive losses.

Thus far, GTAT’s attempts to sell off more than 2000 sapphire furnaces about to be mothballed on an Apple subsidiary owned facility in Arizona has largely been unsuccessful. It has been forced to cut 40 percent of its workforce, and Tom Gutierrez resigned as CEO in August.

Meanwhile, a bankruptcy court has again rejected GTAT attempt to pay its top official incentive or retention bonuses, even after his early decision was remanded on appeal.

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