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Apple sapphire supplier GT Advanced files for bankruptcy on iPhone display letdown

UPDATED: The sapphire supplier still has $85M in cash, but the company's stock has fallen more than 35 percent over the last month.
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Written by Zack Whittaker, Writer-editor on
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Image: CNET/CBS Interactive

Apple's sapphire supplier announced on Monday that it faces financial collapse.

GT Advanced, which filed the Chapter 11 paperwork in accordance with U.S. bankruptcy law, said it nevertheless expects to be "business as usual."

Ahead of the announcement, shares in the company were halted on the Nasdaq stock exchange.

The company, which supplies sapphire technology to Apple, suffered a massive share price dip — a 35 percent decline in the past month — after the latest iPhones did not land with the anticipated sapphire display. These displays are reportedly near-unbreakable, and significantly cheaper to develop than diamond, the world's toughest natural material.

The iPhone maker still utilizes sapphire in its rear camera lenses and Touch ID fingerprint sensors.

GT Advanced still has approximately $85 million in cash as of late September. 

"GT has a strong and fundamentally sound underlying business," chief executive Tom Gutierrez said in prepared remarks. "Today's filing does not mean we are going out of business; rather, it provides us with the opportunity to continue to execute our business plan on a stronger footing, maintain operations of our diversified business, and improve our balance sheet.

Apple's new wearable, dubbed Apple Watch, uses a sapphire display. But it's not clear at this point whether or not production is affected. 

Apple Watch is expected to launch early next year.

Update at 4:00pm ET: Shares in GT Advanced ($GTAT) collapsed over the day, nosediving by 92 percent by market close. 

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Image: Google Finance

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