Last Friday Judge Arthur Gonzalez in the U.S. Bankruptcy Court in New York City immediately approved a series of court filings from Chrysler LLC known as “first-day motions.” The orders issued by the court allow Chrysler to continue to operate its business during the reorganization proceedings. The quick action was expected, since the court is used to dealing with large, albeit less publicized, bankruptcies.
The Court granted approval for the company’s request to continue payment of wages and health and welfare benefits to employees and contractors, and continue its customer warranty programs.
However, the true test of whether a swift bankruptcy can occur in 30 to 60 days, as the Treasury Department claims, remains at an unknown date in the future. Still to be heard from are Chrysler’s debtors who object to the proposed $2 billion settlement on $6.9 billion in secured Chrysler debt. Even though the four largest banks holding 70% of this debt have agreed to the settlement, it is unknown how Judge Gonzalez will treat the issue. Other impediments to swift reemergence from bankruptcy remain, as hundred of motions from interested parties are expected.
Still, day one went smoothly from Chrysler’s point of view. Only one day before, Chrysler announced a restructuring plan that was agreed to by many of its stakeholders including the Obama Administration, now its largest creditor. The Chrysler agreement in principle to establish a global strategic alliance with Fiat SpA is the cornerstone of a new company. (more…)