Visteon: The Supplier Skeleton In Ford's Closet
There’s no shortage of analysis hailing Ford’s last-man-standing status, but there’s plenty of buried truth that’s not being brought to light. For example, Ford’s version of Delphi, bankrupt spun-off supplier Visteon. The firm’s non-European and Asian operations have been in Chapter 11 bankruptcy since May, and according to Automotive News [sub], it’s running out of DIP financing. Ford financed the supplier’s first month in bankruptcy, after which Visteon began burning through cash it was holding as collateral for its borrowings. And now that money is set to run out in March, forcing the firm to go hunting for $150m in further DIP financing. Unsecured creditors are objecting, calling the move a power grab by senior, secured lenders who seem willing to lend more money in order to edge out unsecured claims. And while that battle rages on, other OEMs are bailing on Visteon. Chrysler will come up with some $31m to buy back its supply business from the weakened supplier, Nissan is buying its Visteon-run North American interior plants back for $11m, while GM shifted its Visteon business to competitors at a cost of $22m. Ford, Visteon’s biggest customer and former owner is making no such move to abandon its most crucial supplier. If DIP funding comes up short, or if more bumps appear in Visteon’s bankruptcy (or if things continue as normal… Visteon lost $38m last quarter), Ford will face the brunt of the fallout. And with $30b in debt, and no government escrow account to draw on, Ford won’t be able to help out Visteon the way GM rescued Delphi earlier this year.
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