New owners for IdleAire as assets sale closes

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IdleAire Inc., comprised of six investment management companies, now owns essentially all of the bankrupt IdleAire Technologies Corp.’s assets with the official closing late Friday, Aug. 29, on its $17.5 million bid submitted earlier this year, the company announced Tuesday, Sept. 2.

IdleAire Inc. owners include advisory clients of Airlie Group, Kenmont Investments Management, SV Special Situations Fund, Whitebox Advisors, Wayzata Investment Partners and Wilfrid Aubrey LLC. Together, these groups manage several billions of dollars in investments and have participated in numerous restructurings and turnarounds, including that of Knoxville, Tenn.-based Regal Cinemas.

“It’s a new company with new owners who are very optimistic about IdleAire’s prospects,” said John Calabrese, a partner with the turnaround specialist firm CRG Partners Group. Calabrese and Stephen Gray, a managing partner of CRG, are providing transitional management of the company while a search for a chief executive officer is under way.

“We believe the new owners’ support and enthusiasm for this company, coupled with their experience and resources, will re-energize what is a fundamentally sound concept,” Calabrese said. “IdleAire has amazing growth potential and is positioned to be a world-class company.”

The new company is retaining both the IdleAire brand and the Advanced Travel Center Electrification (ATE) designation. The now privately-held company also is expected to remain headquartered in Knoxville and to retain current IdleAire employees, although there will be changes in senior management.

“The immediate priority of the new owners of IdleAire is to create a world-class management team, and identification of this team is under way,” Calabrese said. “Secondly, we have to maximize the resources and infrastructure already in place. Over the next few weeks and months, CRG Partners will work with the new owners and IdleAire employees to lay out a comprehensive business plan to better serve fleets, drivers and travel centers, all of whom benefit from the service. We have already discussed numerous prospective areas of growth, but the first priority is to create a business that is fundamentally strong. Once the new CEO is on board, which is on track to occur in October, we will be able to be more specific. Right now, we are focused on continuing to serve our fleet and driver customers across the nation.”

IdleAire has 131 locations in 34 states, providing filtered heating and air conditioning, electrical outlets and a range of communications and entertainment options that allow long-haul truck drivers to shut down their engines instead of idling for cab comfort during daily rest periods. The only truck retrofit required to utilize IdleAire services is a $10 window adapter that stays with the truck. More than 1,600 fleets pay for basic IdleAire services for their drivers.

IdleAire says it set a new record in service the week of July 27 by providing more than 49,000 customers with 483,104 hours of service in the seven-day period, and signing up 1,898 new driver customers in the process. That translates to nearly 500,000 gallons of diesel saved for truck owners and more than 11 million pounds of diesel idling emissions prevented, according to the company.

Since its inception, IdleAire says its technology has delivered nearly 37 million hours of service to the nation’s fleets and long-haul drivers, saving that many gallons of diesel or more, and preventing more than 855 million pounds of diesel idling emissions from entering the air.