TOKYO (Reuters) - Creditors of bankrupt Takata Corp say the parts maker owes them more than $30 billion after the automotive industry’s biggest recall over its faulty air bags - many times more than the company can repay, a court filing seen by Reuters shows.
In the biggest bankruptcy of a Japanese manufacturer, Takata sought court protection from creditors in June as costs and liabilities mounted from almost a decade of recalls and lawsuits.
Its air bag inflators have been linked to at least 18 deaths and 180 injuries around the world because they can rupture and shoot metal fragments into vehicles.
Takata’s creditors, including automakers such as Honda Motor Co (7267.T), banks and bondholders, are seeking 3.77 trillion yen ($33.3 billion) from the supplier, mostly to cover recall costs, according to the filing outlining the company’s debt obligations, which hasn’t been made public.
Takata had cash and securities worth just 78 billion yen at end-March - equivalent to just 2 percent of the sum creditors are seeking. It also had tangible assets such as buildings and machinery worth 93 billion yen, but much of these went to the company’s purchaser and the rest is needed to make replacement inflators to supply the recalls.
Key Safety Systems, a Michigan-based parts supplier owned by China’s Ningbo Joyson Electronic Corp (600699.SS), agreed in June to buy Takata’s non-inflator assets, such as the seatbelt and air bag businesses, for $1.6 billion.
A spokesman for Takata declined to comment on the matter.
A Honda spokesman said: “We will continue to consider our legal options” to reach a financial settlement.
Automakers have recalled or expect to recall by 2019 about 125 million vehicles worldwide to replace air bag inflators, including more than 60 million in the United States.
As part of Takata’s bankruptcy restructuring plan, its steering committee recognizes debts of 1.05 trillion yen ($9.26 billion), accepting just 600 billion yen in recall-related costs, according to the filing submitted to the Tokyo District Court.
Takata aims to file its restructuring plan to that court by Nov. 27.
($1 = 113.4000 yen)
Reporting by Maki Shiaki, with additional reporting by Naomi Tajitsu; Editing by William Mallard and Ian Geoghegan