27 Automotive Suppliers File Chapter 11 Bankruptcies in 2009; End of Year Status Summary; Likelihood of Bankruptcy Preference Recovery

Pressures in the global automotive industry forced 27 FN1 automotive parts and component manufacturers and 2 automakers to seek Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in 2009.  The number of filings is only the headline of the story.  While estimated trade creditor distributions on prepetition claims swung the spectrum of 100% to 0%, estimated recoveries of less than 2 percent predominate.  And more trade creditor pain looms in several bankruptcies, as bankruptcy preference action recoveries are either included in liquidation budgets, are necessary to avoid administrative insolvency or are likely to be sought by plan administrators and liquidation trustees.

This article provides a comprehensive list of the 27 automotive supplier Chapter 11 bankruptcies in 2009, together with status at the end of 2009, estimated trade creditor recoveries and the potential for avoidance actions.

How Did Lear Decide Which Suppliers are its Critical Vendors

Lear Corporation and co-debtor subsidiaries (“Lear”) have estimated that they collectively have 1,600 vendors with outstanding prepetition claims.  Lear has identified 214 of these vendors as “critical vendors”.  As part of its first day motions, Lear has requested an order from the Bankruptcy Court authorizing Lear to pay up to an aggregate of $50,100,000 ($25,050,000 pursuant to an interim order and up to an additional $25,050,000 pursuant to a final order) of prepetition claims held by these 214 “critical vendors.”   In the Lear bankruptcies and in other bankruptcies where similar motions have been filed, suppliers (and their lenders and stakeholders) repeatedly are asking:  “What is a ‘critical vendor’ and what are the chances of my company being one?”

Lear Corporation – 50 Largest Unsecured Bankruptcy Creditors

Lear Corporation has requested authority to file a consolidated list of the 50 largest unsecured creditors for itself and its affiliated Debtors (the “Top Unsecured Creditor List”) in lieu of a separate list for each of the Debtors. The largest unsecured trade payable on the list is $5,076,686.81 due to Johnson Controls, Inc.

Lear Bankruptcy – 24 Debtors and Petitions

Lear Corporation and 23 affiliated entities (”Debtors”) filed a petitions in Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of New York for relief under chapter 11 of title 11 of the United States Code.  Contemporaneously with the filing of their petitions, the Debtors filed a motion requesting that the Court consolidate their chapter 11 cases for administrative purposes only under the Lear Corporation case number 09-14326. The following are the names and case numbers (as available ) of the bankruptcy petitions.