Swift Completes $806 Million Public Offering

Swift Completes $806 Million Public Offering

Swift Transportation is back on Wall Street after raising $806 million in its initial public offering, selling 73.3 million shares of stock for $11 each.

The nation's largest truckload carrier completed an IPO launched Nov. 19 and began trading on the New York Stock Exchange Thursday under the ticker SWFT.

The IPO brought in less money than Swift initially expected. The company had hoped to raise more than $1 billion selling its shares at $13 to $15 apiece.

The transaction is still the largest IPO in trucking since Union Pacific spun off less-than-truckload carrier Overnite Transportation for $610 million in 2003.

Swift wasn't the only company struggling to complete an IPO. There were nine IPOs the week of Dec. 13, but several were priced below their expected terms.

Investors also may have balked at paying more than $1 billion for a company that lost $77 million in the first three quarters of 2010 and $435.6 million last year.

The truckload carrier improved its performance during the year, however, narrowing its net loss to little more than $1 million in the third quarter.

Swift increased revenue 14.9 percent year-over-year in that period, while its operating income surged 79.4 percent to $82.1 million, according to company data.

But its "still sizable debt burden" and older fleet pose challenges in the short to intermediate term, said Donald Broughton, managing director of Avondale Partners.

In a note to investors, Broughton said he expects Swift to use proceeds from the IPO to reduce its debt by $725 million to $750 million.

In early trading, the stock was essentially flat, dipping as low as $10.90 a share and rising as high as $11.10 a share. By late Friday, it was just above $11 a share.

-- Contact William B. Cassidy at wcassidy@joc.com.