supply chain

Auto suppliers turn to bankruptcy to renegotiate contracts

Suppliers have so far been largely successful in obtaining pricing relief from automakers, according to attorneys and consultants involved in the discussions. But as suppliers intensify their efforts for price increases, and OEMs face a bleaker economic outlook and major supplier-related financial losses, it’s less of a guarantee who blinks first at the negotiation table.

The situation is not nearly as dire as the Great Recession of 2007-09, but suppliers across the tiers continue bearing the brunt of supply chain pain, and they are not afraid of pulling the bankruptcy card, according to Max Newman, attorney at Detroit-based Butzel Long who specializes in Chapter 11 proceedings.

“There have been threats of bankruptcy in connection with price increases, and there’s sort of an implicit threat of bankruptcy whenever a supplier is seeking a price increase because an OEM doesn’t just hand them out to anybody,” Newman said.

In the past few months, at least five automotive suppliers have filed for bankruptcy while others have moved to close plants in Michigan as supply chain volatility and inflation bloat the cost of doing business.

In many instances, suppliers are locked into contracts entered before the COVID-19 pandemic and supply crisis flipped the

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16 Top Bankruptcy Lawyers Poised to Earn Millions As the Economy Turns

  • Corporate bankruptcies have hit rock bottom, with just 143 filings this year as of May.
  • But inflation, rising rates, and the “crypto winter” are creating a financial strain.
  • Here are 16 lawyers who may benefit as more companies negotiate with lenders and restructure their debt.

Lawyers who specialize in bankruptcies and debt restructurings have not seen many new cases in court for more than a year — but some are betting that’ll soon change.

Bankruptcy filings, which have been on a downward spiral since last year, continue to slump.  As of May, there were just 143 corporate bankruptcy filings, putting bankruptcies on pace for a record low. In 2021, there were just 410 filings, down from 640 in 2020, according to an S&P Global Market Intelligence report in June.

But there are pockets of activity, and more than a dozen top restructuring practitioners told Insider they expected more out-of-court workouts and new Chapter 11-protection filings over the next year. Conference-room negotiations between companies and their lenders, which tend to precede filings, are picking up speed, the lawyers said. 

Supply-chain problems, the uncertainty of the COVID-19 pandemic, inflation, and a decline in consumer confidence are likely to

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