Saturday, September 20, 2008

Bought out of bankruptcy, IdleAire seeks CEO

Knoxville-based IdleAire Inc. has a laudable concept that takes on added lustre during the current fuel shortage: Hook truckers' cabs (left) up to AC, TV, Internet and other comforts, and shut off those idling motors that waste fuel and leave sleeping truckers grumpy. Nonetheless, rapid growth, debt service and some management gaps led IdleAire into bankruptcy earlier this year, owing more than $300 million and having cranked operating losses totaling more than $150 million in the past two years, alone. As it attempted, ultimately unsuccessfully to stave-off bankruptcy, IdleAire was forced by lenders to retain turnaround specialist CRG Partners, an international firm HQ'd in New York City. Post-bankruptcy, CRG answers to a cluster of six investment-advisory and -management firms, who, in turn, represent the actual investors. CRG was previously credited with the turnaround of Knoxville-based Regal Cinemas. IdleAire has more than 130 sites and serves rigs operated by more than 1,600 fleet operators. The company's 2007 revenue was about $31 million, but that record sprang from a massive increase in overhead in network overhead. Trying to grow its way out of failure helped seal the company's fate. CRG is actively recruiting a new CEO with industry experience. Other key management slots may also turnover.

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