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Special Devices files for Chapter 11

By   /   Monday, December 15th, 2008  /   Comments Off on Special Devices files for Chapter 11

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Moorpark-based Special Devices said Dec. 15 that it has filed for protection under Chapter 11 of the federal bankruptcy code in a Delaware court.

Special Devices is one of the largest manufacturers of triggers for airbags used in the automotive sector, among others. The pyrotechnics company is believed to be one of the largest privately-owned companies in the Tri-Counties but this year has not released financial or employment data.

In 2007 the company reported revenue of $104 million and 318 employees – 261 of whom were in the Tri-Counties. It was ranked No. 15 in the Business Times’ annual list of private companies.

In a statement, Special Devices said a weak auto industry and the credit crunch forced it to seek protection under Chapter 11, adding that it expected to keep its automotive and non-auto business units running during reorganization. Chapter 11 gives companies relief from debt obligations while they restructure operations to return to profitability.

“Factors beyond our control have resulted in a financial tsunami – a significant decline in automotive-related revenue and a tough global economy coupled with a credit crisis that makes it extremely difficult to support our debt structure,” Christopher Hunter, Special Devices president and chief executive officer, said in a statement.

The company said it would continue to meet payrolls and health benefit obligations and honor customer programs. The company said it had obtained $20 million in debtor-in-possession financing from its largest creditor, Wayzata Investment Partners.

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