Auto Parts Supplier Cooper-Standard Filed Chapter 11

NOVI, MICH. (Aug. 5, 1:15 p.m. ET) — The parent company of Novi, Mich.-based auto supplier Cooper-Standard Automotive Inc. filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection on Aug. 4, saying it can’t pay back its $1.17 billion in debt.

Cooper-Standard Holdings Inc. and its U.S subsidiaries filed in U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Wilmington, Del., making it the 17th major U.S. auto supplier to file for bankruptcy protection this year, according to Automotive News.

The company, which has about 16,000 employees worldwide, makes door, body and sunroof seals and fluid handling systems. It ranks No. 65 on the Automotive News list of the top 100 global suppliers with worldwide sales to automakers of $2.60 billion in 2008.

It blames the downturn in U.S. auto sales for its troubles, and said it will continue to operate as it works out a restructuring plan with its creditors.

The plan under discussion now would reduce Cooper-Standard’s debt to $350 million, the company said.

Cooper-Standard’s largest unsecured creditors include Delaware-based Wilmington Trust Co. ($313 million senior note and $200 million senior note), Ohio’s environmental protection agency ($2.7 million) and Farmington Hills-based Robert Bosch LLC ($713,782), according to the bankruptcy filings.

“The company intends to continue operating ‘business as usual’ during the reorganization process and anticipates no interruption in its supply to customers,” Cooper-Standard said in a statement.

Some current lenders have agreed to provide Cooper-Standard with up to $175 million in debtor-in-possession financing, subject to court approval.

Cooper-Standard Automotive Canada Ltd. will seek relief under the Companies’ Creditors Arrangement Act in the Ontario Superior Court of Justice in Toronto, the company said in a statement.

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