Thursday, 14 December, 2017

Takata files for bankruptcy, to be bought by US-based firm

Takata to Sell All Assets to KSS for $1.59 Billion Takata to Sell All Assets to KSS for $1.59 Billion
Jan Ortega | 30 June, 2017, 00:17

Takata has been struggling with years of recalls and lawsuits after its airbags were linked to at least 17 deaths around the world.

In September past year, BMW recalled 110,000 cars in Japan, while Honda, Japan's second-biggest carmaker, recalled 668,000 vehicles for the same issue, bringing the tally of cars it has had to bring back to its dealership to 51 million.

The company's air bags are used on vehicles for almost all of the world's major automakers, affecting about one-quarter of all vehicles on the road in the U.S.as of two years ago, according to one estimate.

The sale of its business to Key Safety Systems won't save everything from the Takata bankruptcy.

Resolving the web of claims and liabilities relating to the bankruptcy of asbestos-maker Eagle-Picher Industries Inc. took most of the 1990s.

The issue was attributed to the nitrate-based propellant used by the airbags' inflating system, which is prone to explode after prolonged exposure to hot and humid conditions.

On Monday (26 June), the company filed for chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in the United States and took similar actions in Japan.

Takata is expected to use $1 billion of the proceeds to cover its settlement of criminal charges with US authorities.

In the US, Takata agreed in January to plead guilty to wire fraud for falsifying testing data and reports provided to carmakers.

May 4, 2016: The air-bag maker agrees to recall another 35 million to 40 million air-bag inflators, making it the largest recall in USA history. Key Safety Systems Inc., the US air bag maker owned by China's Ningbo Joyson Electronic Corp., has agreed to buy Takata's business for $1.6 billion, according to a statement posted on Takata's website.

The bankruptcy case also will not affect the $125 million victim compensation fund Takata established as part of its criminal settlement with the U.S. Justice Department.

Takata, founded by the Takada family in the 1930s as a textile maker, produced parachutes for the Imperial Japanese Army during World War II.

In January, Takata admitted to hiding the deadly risks of its exploding air bags for about 15 years in an agreement to pay $1 billion to US regulators, consumers and carmakers.

The safety agency is also making sure older cars are fixed first, since the chemical Takata used in the air bags, ammonium nitrate, degrades over time, especially in hot, humid climates.

Peter Prieto, a lawyer for consumer plaintiffs in the Takata air bag litigation, said in a statement that Honda had refused to present the engineer for a deposition. Toyota, Subaru, Mazda and BMW will reimburse out-of-pocket expenses, provide loaners to some vehicle owners and set up an outreach program to increase participation in recalls, according to court papers filed May 18.

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