Celadon chips away acquisition debt with sale of TruckersB2B

Celadon chips away acquisition debt with sale of TruckersB2B

Celadon Group, a $681 million trucking operator that has been buying smaller truckload carriers at a fast clip, sold its longstanding stake in a vendor discount program aimed at smaller trucking firms.

The company surrendered its minority stake in TruckersB2B, a program with more than 25,000 carrier members, which offers discounts on equipment and goods to small to medium-sized carriers, for $21 million.

In a June 4 U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission filing, Celadon said the $17 million pre-tax gain on the sale would be used to pay down debt. Celadon had $105.9 million in long-term debt as of March 31.

Celadon is the 33rd largest trucking operator on the JOC list of the Top 50 Trucking Companies and ranks 18th in JOC’s list of the Top 25 Truckload Carriers. Both lists were prepared by SJ Consulting Group.

Celadon acquired nine companies in 2013, increasing its revenue 11.2 percent in the calendar year to $681 million. In its last fiscal year, which ended June 30, 2013, Celadon revenue totaled $613.6 million.

Those acquisitions pushed up Celadon’s long-term debt from $78.1 million last June 30 to $151.9 million by Dec. 31. That number dropped after Celadon sold its truck-leasing business for $53 million.

Celadon’s exit from TruckersB2B “makes sense as management continues to focus on improving efficiency in its core business while deleveraging its balance sheet,” Stifel managing director John G. Larkin said.

Since 2011, Celadon has run TruckersB2B as a joint venture with Electronic Funds Source, now owned by Warburg Pincus. EFS owned 65 percent of the business, Larkin said in a note to investors.

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