Reddy Ice to bid for Arctic Glacier

Thu Apr 12, 2012 10:13am EDT
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By Tanya Agrawal and A. Ananthalakshmi

(Reuters) - Reddy Ice Holdings Inc RDDY.PK plans to file for bankruptcy and bid for Canadian rival Arctic Glacier Income Fund, as the packaged-ice maker looks to cut debt and beef up its business after years of battling government investigations, lawsuits and intensifying competition.

The industry has been struggling since 2007, when the U.S. government probed Reddy Ice, Arctic Glacier AG_u.CD and privately owned Home City Ice for an alleged conspiracy to eliminate smaller rivals and keep retail prices higher than market levels.

Reddy Ice and Arctic Glacier -- which filed for bankruptcy earlier this year -- racked up heavy debt battling lawsuits and government investigations.

Industry experts had long expected a merger of Arctic Glacier and Reddy, the largest manufacturer and distributor of packaged ice in the United States, as new competition from ice-vending machines also severely hurt the business.

Retailers, the industry's main customers, also started making and selling their own ice, further eating into sales of packaged ice.

The two companies lost a combined $300 million over the past two years and their stock prices plummeted.

Dallas-based Reddy Ice was delisted from the New York Stock Exchange and Arctic Glacier was kicked off the Toronto Stock Exchange

Arctic Glacier, which is Canada's largest and United States' second biggest ice maker, started looking for buyers in February after filing for bankruptcy protection.   Continued...