Arctic Glacier seeks to put tarnished past behind it with sale to

Arctic Glacier seeks to put tarnished past behind it with sale to U.S. firm Arctic Glacier hopes to regain its footing from legal challenges that have tarnished the brand of Canada’s largest supplier of packaged-ice by selling its operations to a Miami-based private equity fund.The deal announced Friday is part of a court-supervised restructuring process. It’s is expected to pay all creditors and maintain Arctic Glacier’s headquarters in Winnipeg.Arctic Glacier CEO Keith McMahon said the transaction will put the company in a “strong competitive position to grow our business and strengthen our position as an industry leader in the packaged ice business.”An affiliate of H.I.G. Capital will acquire Arctic Glacier, subject to court approval in Canada and the United States and pre-merger clearance in the United States.The transaction is expected to close by July 31.The buyer plans to work with senior management to implement initiatives to enhance profitability and increase the value of the business.Arctic Glacier (CNSX:AG.UN) said it expects all its employees will be offered jobs. The company employs more than 1,100 year-round and more than 2,400 during the peak summer period.It produces 11,000 tons of ice daily.The purchaser will assume responsibility for all trade payables, licences and some contractual obligations.After paying all known creditors, it said there may be enough money to pay a distribution to Arctic Glacier unitholders.The sale comes nearly four months after Arctic Glacier obtained court protection from creditors and subsequently launched a process seeking potential buyers or investors.Several companies expressed interest, including industry leader Reddy Ice.Founded in 1996, Arctic Glacier rapidly expanded it operations by spending US$475 million over several years to acquire 78 packaged ice businesses in the highly fragmented industry in Canada and the U.S.That left it with US$236 million of net debt as of March 31.It has been considering strategic alternatives since late 2010.The company has lost more than US$224 million over the past four years, accelerating to US$84.9 million in 2011.Arctic Glacier breached conditions of its credit facilities last summer after its financial condition was weakened by prolonged legal actions and significant refinancing costs.Its legal problems started in 2008 when several states began antitrust investigations into the packaged ice industry.A Michigan subsidiary agreed to pay a US$9 million U.S. Department of Justice fine. It also settled a civil litigation by agreeing to pay US$12.5 million.In both cases, it was unable to pay scheduled instalments totalling US$17 million because of the creditor protection.It also settled an Ontario class action lawsuit in February by agreeing to pay C$13.75 million using insurance and without admitting liability.The securities case alleging disclosure failures involves investors who acquired Arctic Glacier units between March 22, 2002 and Sept. 16, 2008.Arctic Glacier Income Fund operates 39 production plants and 47 distribution facilities across Canada and the northeast, central and western United States servicing more than 75,000 retail locations.Its main product is packaged ice sold in stores. It also supplies commercial users, including bakeries and meat processors. Ice in bulk containers are sold primarily to poultry processors, the commercial fishing industry, chemical plants and concrete plants.H.I.G. specializes in providing capital to small and medium-sized companies. Founded in 1993, its has more than $8.5 billion of equity capital under management with a portfolio of more than 50 companies.Arctic Glacier units were delisted from the Toronto Stock Exchange in January and moved to the Canadian National Stock Exchange. AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to RedditRedditShare to 電子郵件Email by Ross Marowits, The Canadian Press Posted Jun 8, 2012 1:04 pm MDT read more

Female genital mutilation not acceptable in the 21st century – UN envoy

“This is not acceptable and this is done in the name of tradition, culture, religion or in the name of ensuring that women are to take on subservient roles to the men they will eventually marry,” said Jayathma Wickramanayake, the Secretary-General’s Envoy on Youth, speaking at an international forum in the Gambia on strategies to combat the practice.“This is not acceptable in the 21st century.”Globally, over 200 million women and girls are estimated to have undergone some form of genital mutilation and girls aged 14 and younger account for about 44 million of those who have been “cut.”According to the UN Population Fund (UNFPA), although the practice is declining in many countries where it is prevalent, many of these countries also experiencing a high rate of population growth – meaning that the number of girls who undergo genital mutilation will continue to grow if efforts are not significantly scaled up.The in one of its Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development – agreed to by all UN Member States – has called for eliminating female genital mutilation as well as other harmful practices, such as child, early and forced marriage (target 5.3).Countries too have also stepped up their efforts.For instance, in November 2015, Gambia banned and subsequently criminalized female genital mutilation. Many other African countries also now have legislation that that forbids the practice.In addition to implementing the law, the Envoy on Youth also called on all countries and stakeholders to address any existing gaps in their legal frameworks and reiterated the support from the UN in overcoming the harmful practice.“History has taught us that human societies can come up with reprehensible social practices – that are justified under false guises – to strengthen the power structures or maintain the status quo for certain groups in society,” she said.“Luckily we also know that social practice is not static and that it can change as our understanding evolves.” read more