What was known as Delphi Thermal Systems will become a General Motors facility today, after Delphi announced its emergence from bankruptcy almost four years to the day it started the process.

The Upper Mountain Road plant will start today as a GM plant, according to Delphi spokesperson Claudia Piccinin. The sale of four Delphi plants back to GM were part of the company’s plan to emerge from its four-year odyssey. Delphi’s plan was finalized Tuesday when a deal selling most of Delphi’s assets to lenders was approved.

“It is final, Wednesday is day one,” she said.

Delphi spun off from GM in 1999 and remained its largest parts supplier. On Oct. 8, 2005, Delphi filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection and was kept afloat largely by $12.5 billion from GM. Delphi almost emerged last year, but a group of investors pulled out at the last minute. In July, lenders — led by Elliot Management Corp. and Silver Point Capital — successfully bid $3.5 billion in loans to Delphi to acquire its other facilities not returned to GM. The bid was the centerpiece to the restructuring plan approved in court that allowed Delphi to emerge.

Along with the Lockport plant, GM will also purchase Delphi’s steering business and manufacturing plants in Rochester; Kokomo, Ind.; and Wyoming, Mich. Having the Lockport plant return to GM was a great thing, according to retiree James Gugliuzza. Gugliuzza is a Delphi retiree who also worked 20-plus years when the plant was under the GM name.

“GM has always been a part of Lockport. There is a long history between the two,” he said. “It’s just great to see them back together. To me, GM was a part of the Lockport family, and Delphi never really was.”

What is left of Delphi will now become a private company called Delphi Holdings, owned by lenders; current Delphi leader Rodney O’Neal will remain president and CEO. He said in a statement that Delphi will now be able to invest in developing new technology and products. Delphi will now have four plants in the U.S., down from the 44 facilities it had in 1999.

“We are clearly focused on game-changing technologies that meet market demands and help address societal concerns in an intense global environment,” O’Neal said. “We expect that the industry and the competitive environment will continue to be demanding, but the restructuring we have already completed creates a strong platform and we expect to capitalize on that.”

Contact reporter Joe Olenick at 439-9222, ext. 6241.

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