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Air bag maker Takata to file bankruptcy this month - sources


By Jessica DiNapoli and David Shepardson

NEW YORK/(Reuters) - Corp <7312.T>, the Japanese company facing billions in liabilities stemming from its defective air bag inflators, is preparing to file for as early as next week as it works towards a deal for financial backing from U.S. auto parts maker Key Safety Systems Inc, sources said on Thursday.

Takata, one of the world's biggest automotive suppliers, has been working for months to complete a deal with Key Safety.

A person briefed on the matter told Key was expected to acquire assets as part of a restructuring in

Nikkei reported a new company created under Key will purchase operations for about 180 billion yen ($1.62 billion) and continue supplying air bags, seat belts and other products, leaving liabilities behind in a separate entity.

declined to comment. Michigan-based Key, owned by Chinese supplier Ningbo Joyson <600699.SS>, did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Also at stake is $850 million owed by to major global automakers under a settlement agreed to earlier this year stemming from the automotive industry's largest ever safety recall.

Sources familiar with the matter, who asked for anonymity because they were not authorized to speak with the media, said a final deal with Key may not be reached before files for The company plans to begin proceedings in both the United States and Japan, the sources said.

Major global car manufacturers have expressed concern about the company filing for without a deal in place because of disruption it could cause to the production of replacement air bag inflators. More than 65 percent of 46.2 million recalled air bag inflators in the United States have not been repaired.

A U.S. judge said earlier this year the costs of replacing all of the faulty inflators could be $8 billion.

inflators can explode with excessive force, unleashing metal shrapnel inside cars and trucks.

In January, agreed to plead guilty to criminal wrongdoing and to pay $1 billion to resolve a U.S. Justice Department investigation into ruptures of its air bag inflators linked to at least 16 deaths worldwide. They also have been blamed for more than 180 injuries worldwide.

A federal grand jury in January indicted three former executives for criminal wrongdoing in connection with the safety defect.

has already paid a $25 million fine and $125 million to a victims' compensation fund, including for future incidents.

has until early 2018 to pay the $850 million owed to automakers, or within five days of securing a financial backer. Then-U.S. Attorney Barbara McQuade said in January that if filed for bankruptcy, the Justice Department would be a creditor in the restructuring.

Key was chosen by earlier this year as the favoured buyer for the company. Since then, Key has been working with on a restructuring plan.

Inflator recalls began around 2008 and involve around 100 million inflators around the world used in vehicles made by 19 automakers, including Honda Motor Co <7267.T>, Ford Motor Co , Volkswagen AG and Tesla Inc . Recalls are to continue through at least the end of 2019.

Last month, four automakers including Toyota Motor Corp <7203.T> agreed to a $553 million settlement to address class-action economic loss claims covering owners of nearly 16 million recalled vehicles with inflators.

(Reporting by Jessica DiNapoli in New York and David Shepardson in Additional reporting by Paul Lienert in Detroit; Editing by Tom Brown and Cynthia Osterman)

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)