March 17, 2009 at 1:42 pm

Visteon delays report, seeks debt waiver

Parts supplier expects accountants to cast doubt on its ability to continue operating.

NEW YORK -- Struggling auto supplier Visteon Corp. said Monday that it will not be able to file its annual report on time because of the uncertainty about its ability to keep operating in tough industry and economic conditions.

Visteon said in a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission that it expects an upcoming report by its accountants to indicate significant doubt about the company's ability continue as a "going concern."

That could trigger a default under the supplier's main U.S. senior secured credit facilities, allowing lenders to demand that those debts be immediately paid by the company.

Visteon said it's in discussions with its lenders to get a waiver or change the terms of its debt agreements so that it won't face such demands.

The news comes a week after the company, based in Van Buren Township, met a deadline to make a crucial $16 million payment of interest on outstanding bonds.

Some analysts had said the company would miss the payment and instead file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection.

Visteon also said in Monday's SEC filing that it's considering possible additional restructuring actions in light of the current and future market conditions, the volatility in the overall automotive industry, and its track record of operating losses and cash burn.

Visteon said last month that it lost $633 million in 2008 and planned to cut another 1,000 jobs by the end of March, as it warned it might not meet the terms of its debt agreements.

The New York Stock Exchange recently delisted Visteon's shares, citing low trading levels. The stock, which now trades over the counter, gained 2.5 cents Monday to close at 9 cents per share.

Despite Visteon's mounting problems, Ford Motor Co., Visteon's former parent, has said that it will not bail out the supplier if it fails.

In the past, Ford has taken over plants Visteon has been unable to sell, hired back workers and helped pay retiree benefits.

Most auto suppliers have seen sales tumble in the face of steep drops in vehicle production both at home and abroad.

The suppliers have joined General Motors Corp. and Chrysler LLC in petitioning the federal government for help. Suppliers alone have asked the Obama administration for up to $25.5 billion in aid.

So far, Ford has not taken any of the government aid and has said it expects to make it through the industry downturn on its own.