February 14, 2014

YRC refinances $1.15 billion by closing on two 5-year loans; millions in interest savings seen

Firm run by union-appointed board member gets $5.5 million in fees.

By Mark B. Solomon

YRC Worldwide Inc. said yesterday it closed on two new five-year loans valued at $1.15 billion, thus completing a $1.45 billion debt restructuring that followed its unionized employees ratifying a five-year extension of their collective-bargaining agreement.

The loans, valued at $750 million and $450 million, will carry less onerous financing terms, which will allow YRC to cut $40 million to $50 million from its annual interest expense, the company said in a statement. YRC had been laboring under the burden of double-digit interest rates that the company said made it impossible to reinvest in its business after wages and benefits were paid, other fixed costs were met, and the debt was serviced.

The refinancing provides a "healthy level of liquidity so that we may continue increasing our investment in our people, equipment, and technology," Jamie Pierson, chief financial officer of the Overland Park, Kan.-based less-than-truckload carrier, said in the statement.

Under terms of the $450 million asset-based loan package, YRC will be able to borrow an additional $100 million if needed to grow the business or to improve its liquidity position, the company said. An asset-based loan is a loan of relatively short duration secured by the borrower's assets.

In late January, YRC issued $250 million in equity, the proceeds of which were used to pay off a portion of its debt. Bondholders also agreed to swap $50 million of debt for an additional $50 million in equity.

YRC's lenders conditioned any refinancing efforts on the extension of the current five-year contract, which was originally set to expire in March 2015. Last month's ratification by the unionized rank-and-file extends the agreement until March 2019. The Teamsters union represents YRC's 26,000 or so unionized employees.

In a related development, MAEVA Group LLC, a New York-based corporate restructuring firm run by financier Harry J. Wilson, a member of YRC's board appointed by the Teamsters, collected $5.5 million in fees presumably for its role in the overall restructuring efforts. The payment was made public in a Feb. 7 Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) filing outlining the stock sale. In addition, investment firm Credit Suisse First Boston received a $7.82 million sales commission in the transaction, according to the filing.

In February 2013, MAEVA signed a contract with YRC for advisory services in "connection with one or more potential transactions and/or strategic initiatives," YRC said in an SEC filing at the time. Under the agreement, MAEVA would receive a maximum of $5.5 million in what YRC called "completion fees." It would also be paid $250,000 in monthly fees for the next four months from the date of the filing.

Wilson was one of two YRC board members chosen by the Teamsters under terms of a 2009 restructuring that called for wage and pension concessions from the rank and file. The other was Douglas O. Carty, co-founder and chairman of Switzer-Carty Transportation Inc., a Canadian company specializing in school bus transportation services.

YRC, the Teamsters, and MAEVA were unavailable to comment on the services provided by MAEVA in connection with the $5.5 million payment.

About the Author

Mark B. Solomon
Executive Editor - News
Mark Solomon joined DC VELOCITY as senior editor in August 2008, and was promoted to his current position on January 1, 2015. He has spent more than 30 years in the transportation, logistics and supply chain management fields as a journalist and public relations professional. From 1989 to 1994, he worked in Washington as a reporter for the Journal of Commerce, covering the aviation and trucking industries, the Department of Transportation, Congress and the U.S. Supreme Court. Prior to that, he worked for Traffic World for seven years in a similar role. From 1994 to 2008, Mr. Solomon ran Media-Based Solutions, a public relations firm based in Atlanta. He graduated in 1978 with a B.A. in journalism from The American University in Washington, D.C.

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