Cooper-Standard Files For Chapter 11

NOVI, Mich. (AP) -- Cooper-Standard Holdings Inc., said Monday it filed for bankruptcy protection in an effort to reduce its debt amid a slowdown in vehicle production and sales.

Privately held Cooper-Standard, which is a preferred automotive supplier to Ford Motor Co., makes fluid handling, body sealing and other systems for automakers. Cooper-Standard said in a statement that the Chapter 11 bankruptcy filing in a Delaware court was "voluntary."

The Novi, Mich., company said it is seeking to cut $1.1 billion in outstanding debt, to about $350 million.

The company said it has already secured up to $175 million in debtor-in-possession financing from its current lenders. The company said it reached an agreement with secured lenders regarding the debt restructuring prior to the filing and daily operations shouldn't be interrupted.

"Restructuring the company's balance sheet to align with the new automotive marketplace is the right decision at the right time," said James S. McElya, chairman and CEO of Cooper-Standard. "Today's action will allow the company to maintain its leadership position in the industry, preserve its business relationships and continue providing innovative technology to our customers. We expect to emerge from Chapter 11 a much stronger and more competitive company."

Cooper-Standard Holdings is the parent company of Cooper-Standard Automotive Inc. In 2007, Ford sold its fuel rail manufacturing operations plant in El Jarudo, Mexico to Cooper-Standard. It also supplies parts to General Motors Co., Toyota Motor Corp. and DaimlerAG.

Cooper-Standard said its Canadian subsidiary will seek relief through the courts in Toronto. It said its joint venture and other foreign entities aren't included in the bankruptcy filings.

The bankruptcy protection filing follows Cooper-Standard's operational restructuring in March, which enabled the company to realize $47 million in annual savings.

Cooper-Standard Automotive employees about 16,000 people globally with more than 70 facilities throughout the world.

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