Foxconn Says It Has Spare Parts as Blast Causes Plant Checks

Foxconn Technology Group, the maker of Apple Inc. (AAPL)’s iPads, said it has a week of inventory that allows the manufacturer to shut plants for safety checks after an explosion in a China factory killed three workers.

Foxconn, which shut down its facilities that polish cases after the May 20 incident, expects to complete the safety tests within a week, Edmund Ding, a spokesman for the Taipei-based flagship, Hon Hai Precision Industry Co., said by phone today. All other manufacturing operations remain normal, he said.

Hon Hai shares fell to a 10-month low in Taipei today after the blast, which also injured at least 15 workers at a factory in Chengdu, southwest China. The incident comes a month after Apple said the iPad 2 was facing the “mother of all backlogs” and a year after a spate of suicides prompted Foxconn, the world’s largest contract manufacturer of electronics, to raise wages and move production to inland China.

Initial findings indicate the incident was caused by “an explosion of combustible dust in a duct,” Foxconn said in a statement last night.

Foxconn sent teams to comfort and assist victims and their families after the incident, Ding said today. Apple is working closely with its Taiwanese partner to determine the cause of the explosion, spokesman Steve Dowling said May 20.

Apple, which is transitioning to the new iPad 2 introduced March 11, said last month it couldn’t make enough of the tablet computers to meet demand. The shortfall led to lower sales than analysts predicted.

To contact the reporter on this story: Tim Culpan in Taipei at tculpan1@bloomberg.net.

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Young-Sam Cho at ycho2@bloomberg.net.

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