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Analysis: Behind the Wave of Trucking Mergers and Acquisitions

From the June issue of Heavy Duty Trucking

It’s been a long time since we’ve seen the number and size of trucking mergers and acquisitions like we have lately. There’s the merger of Knight Transportation and Swift Transportation, plus numerous acquisitions in the flatbed market by Daseke. Before that, XPO Logistics purchased Con-way, later selling off its truckload component to a Canadian company while keeping the less-than-truckload.

To get some perspective, I contacted Lana Batts. She’s currently partner emeritus of Transport Capital Partners, a consulting firm specializing in transportation mergers and acquisitions. However, she is known for much more than that. Her 40-plus years in trucking includes being president of the Truckload Carriers Association and senior vice president of government affairs for the American Trucking Associations.

Here are the highlights from our conversation, which has been edited for length and clarity.

Read the full article at HDT here.

View a PDF of the article.

TCP Partner Lana Batts Interviewed by DC Velocity

Recently, TCP Partner Lana Batts was interviewed by DC Velocity as part of their Thought Leader Q & A series. The article highlights her extensive background in the transportation industry and her views on current trucking hot topics. Responding to questions from Senior Editor Mark B. Solomon, Lana Batts discusses the new hours-of-service regulations, her role in Tulsa, Okla.-based company Driver iQ, women in trucking, and the thorny issue of driver pre-screening.

Read the full interview here.

Batts quoted about trucking acquisitions on the increase

Lana Batts, Partner with Transport Capital Partners (TCP), was recently quoted in an article by TruckingInfo.com about the increase in fleet acquisitions and mergers in recent months.  TCP is an advisory firm that facilitates merger and acquisitions for trucking companies. According to Batts, “we are just at the beginning of the cycle” for M&A activity.  There are a number of businesses that are currently looking to sell, and it looks like this will continue for the forseeable future. Batts also says that the “uncertainty about the number of taxes that carriers pay, such as the ‘Obamacare’ tax increase, fuel taxes, tolls, etc., have many carrier executives scratching their heads and wondering if they should stay in the business.”

TCP recently conducted its first quarter Business Expectations Survey which included questions about carriers’ expectations for buying or selling a company in the next 18 months. These results will be released in the next few weeks.

To read the full TruckingInfo.com article, click here.

HDMA Quotes Lana Batts on Fiscal Cliff

HDMA.org, the website for the Heavy Duty Manufacturers Association, references a Transport Topics article about the impending “Fiscal Cliff.” According to TCP Partner Lana Batts, “A lot of carriers say they want to sell before the end of the year. They may be buyers or sellers, but in the end they’re individuals, and a 3 percent or 6 percent tax increase comes out of their cash.” As a result, many carriers are waiting for the debate in Washington to be resolved before taking action on major transactions.

Read the full post at HDMA.org.

Batts Quoted in Transport Topics Article Regarding “Fiscal Cliff”

TCP partner Lana Batts was recently quoted in an article by Transport Topics titled, “Fiscal Cliff’ Sparks New Deals as Carriers Ponder Tax Changes.” As the Obama administration and Congress deliberate 0ver revenue and spending changes, carriers are hurrying to sell before the end of the year. Batts noted that the fiscal cliff affects private equity buyers that “are thinking five years out. They want to flip those companies in five years, but they don’t know what the tax rate will be.” Read the full article here.

 

 

 

Carriers Holding Steady in Flat Economy

From a November 11 article from BigTruckTV, slow growth in the US economy matches the trend in the trucking industry. According to TCP Partner Richard Mikes, “Carriers are not adding capacity as the economy remains relatively flat, used equipment prices go up and conservative equipment plans boost used demand.”

For TCP Partner Lana Batts, “Long term demographics still portend a shrinking driver pool, and current CSA and HOS regulations remove drivers and shorten effective hours (and pay checks) for existing drivers. Some runs that were doable in a day are requiring a sleep break.”

BES Survey Points to Limited Growth in Capacity

As reported on Refrigerated Transporter, carriers are not likely to add much capacity in the coming year. According to the quarterly Business Expectations Survey from Transport Capital Partners, the number of carriers expecting to add little or no capacity has remained between 70% and 74% for the past five quarters. TCP Partner Lana Batts cites driver shortages, coupled with CSA and HOS regulations, as having a diminishing effect on equipment purchases.

Freight Carriers Reluctant to Add Capacity

The Third Quarter 2012 Business Expectations Survey from TCP shows that carriers remain slow to add capacity to their fleets. TCP Partner Richard Mikes notes an increase in the used equipment market, while Partner Lana Batts acknowledges the effects of a shrinking driver pool. Read the full article on Automotive World.

Carrier Capacity Unlikely to Expand in Coming Year

TruckingInfo.com reports that “Few Carriers Expect to Add Much Capacity in Next Year,” citing Transport Capital Partners’ Third Quarter 2012 Business Expectations Survey. TCP Partner Richard Mikes notes, “Carriers are not adding capacity as the economy remains relatively flat and used equipment prices go up and conservative equipment plans boost used demand.” Read the full article here.

Transportation Issues Absent from Presidential Discourse

Lana Batts is quoted in a Logistic Management article citing the absence of infrastructure discussion in the political discourse. “Neither party wants to address the fact that the infrastructure is crumbling beneath their very feet because it means raising taxes to pay for it,” Batts said. “Building the interstate system took a visionary; maintaining it takes politicians with the guts to raise taxes and not just cut ribbons.” Read the full article here.