Celadon buys truckload, drayage carrier for $55 million

Celadon buys truckload, drayage carrier for $55 million

Celadon Trucking acquired A&S Services Group, a regional truckload carrier and port drayage operator with about 500 tractors and 1,500 trailers in New Freedom, Pennsylvania.

Indianapolis-based Celadon paid $55 million at closing and assumed $31.8 million in A&S operating leases, for a total cost of about $74.9 million, the company said yesterday.

A&S will operate autonomously under the name A&S Kinard and President Ken Buck. The carrier’s services include truckload and dedicated fleets, warehousing and port drayage.

The company’s regional reach stretches from Pennsylvania and Maryland to Illinois, New York, Georgia and Northern Florida. A&S has nine drayage facilities and 12 truck terminals.

A&S has grown through acquisition. Being acquired by Celadon “should help further accelerate our aggressive growth plans in the Mid-Atlantic and the Northeast,” Buck said.

“A&S should benefit from purchase economies of scale through buying power afforded by Celadon,” Stifel Managing Director John G. Larkin said in a note to investors.

Earlier this year, A&S purchased drayage agencies in Jacksonville, Florida and Norfolk, Virginia to broaden its inland transportation options in the Southeastern U.S.

Celadon Trucking — the 18th-largest truckload carrier in the U.S., according to SJ Consulting Group — has pursued an aggressive acquisition strategy in recent years.

The company buys smaller carriers that can provide new business opportunities and, perhaps most important, qualified truck drivers. In 2013, Celadon purchased nine carriers.

Contact William B. Cassidy at wcassidy@joc.com and follow him on Twitter: @wbcassidy_joc