April 20, 2009 / 2:23 PM / 10 years ago

UPDATE 1-Asyst Technologies to file for banruptcy

NEW YORK, April 20 (Reuters) - Chip equipment maker Asyst Technologies Inc ASYT.O said on Monday it plans to file for bankruptcy protection and that its Japanese affiliates had filed related voluntary proceedings in Japan.

The company blamed the global recession, which has weakened demand for its products, and the credit crisis which has dried up liquidity. The company said it has been cutting costs and reducing staff, and had explored selling its operations.

The company, which supplies the top 20 chipmakers, said earlier this month it received a default notice from KeyBank on a credit facility with an outstanding balance of $76.5 million.

As of Dec. 31, the company listed long- and short-term liabilities of $337.88 million, exceeding its assets of $295.78 million. It had $77 million in cash.

Asyst reported a net loss of $7.3 million for the final three months of last year on sales of $83.0 million.

The company received an unsolicited offer of $6.50 per share in July from Aquest Systems Corp, which is headed by Asyst’s former chief executive, Mihir Parikh. Those discussions ended in October without an agreement.

Asyst’s shares, which peaked around $60 per share in early 2000, plummeted to 9 cents per share.

Asyst and Aquest could not be reached for comment.

Asyst joins a growing list of companies, such as Charter Communications Inc CHTRQ.PK, that have warned they plan to file for bankruptcy, which can give the management time to reach agreement out of court on a reorganization plan and lower the cost of filing at a time of limited funding.

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