LANSING, Mich. (Legal Newsline) - Michigan Attorney General Mike Cox announced on Friday that he has reached a settlement with the state's two largest ice manufacturers for allegedly violating antitrust laws.
The St. Paul, Minn.-based Arctic Glacier International, Inc., and the Cincinnati-based Home City Ice Company allegedly violated the Michigan Antitrust Reform Act by participating in anticompetitive conduct that may have resulted in inflated ice prices in Michigan.
Cox alleged that from 2001-2007, the two ice manufacturers conspired together to reduce competition in the southeast Michigan market by allocating geographic territories and customers between them. Their scheme lessened competition and potentially resulted in higher prices for consumers, Cox says.
"A strong, competitive free market creates incentives for companies to lower prices, improve service and offer better products to customers," Cox said. "My office will continue to ensure competition thrives in our state."
Under terms of the settlement, Arctic Glacier will pay $350,000 and Home City will pay $390,000, with the entire $740,000 going to the state's general fund.
Both companies also pleaded guilty to criminal conspiracy charges brought by the U.S. Department of Justice, admitting they "participated in a conspiracy to allocate customers of packaged ice sold in southeastern Michigan and the Detroit metropolitan area."
The settlement does not affect any other current litigation that is ongoing against the two companies, as both companies are also being sued by private classes of direct and indirect purchasers, including Michigan purchasers.