Horizon Lines, moving to complete a $655 million refinancing this week, said Kimberly-Clark had agreed to drop antitrust claims resulting from the carrier’s price-fixing in the U.S. mainland-Puerto Rico trade.
The paper product giant was among the large shippers that opted out of a civil class action lawsuit Horizon paid $20 million to settle. Wal-Mart and Home Depot are among other shippers that opted out of the deal and have settled with Horizon for undisclosed terms.
The class action was filed in the wake of a federal criminal investigation that resulted in Horizon pleading guilty last March to a felony antitrust violation and agreeing to pay a $45 million fine that later was reduced to $15 million.
The guilty plea and fine threatened to put Horizon in default of its bond agreements and triggered a complicated refinancing process that the company said it plans to complete by the end of this month.
Horizon set a deadline of 5 p.m. today for consent of holders of its $330 million in 4.25 percent convertible notes to sign consents clearing the way for an exchange of the convertible notes for stock.
The company said that as of last Friday, the previous deadline for the exchange offer, holders of 99.3 percent of the convertible notes had agreed to the deal.
Horizon is the largest U.S. domestic ocean carrier. It operates in Jones Act cabotage trades between the U.S. mainland and Puerto Rico, Hawaii, Alaska and Guam, and has an international service from China to the West Coast.