Roadrunner Transportation Systems Inc., one of the nation's most acquisitive transportation and logistics providers, said yesterday it purchased Rich Logistics, a Little Rock, Ark.-based truckload and expedited provider serving the U.S.-Mexico trade, for $48 million.
The acquisition also includes some of the assets of Brian Everett, a dedicated contractor to Rich, Roadrunner said. Rich and Everett have been run by the same management team, which will stay on to operate the business following the deal's closing.
Rich primarily serves the automotive industry on cross-border lanes through a mix of company drivers and owner-operators. About half of its business moves across the border, and about three-quarter of it is automotive. It generated about $113 million in revenue in 2013.
The acquisition further diversifies Kudahy, Wis.-based Roadrunner away from a total reliance on long-haul, less-than-truckload (LTL) services. In 2006, it generated all of its revenue from long-haul LTL. In 2014, LTL accounted for only 38 percent, according to Mark DiBlasi, Roadrunner's president and CEO.
Much of that diversification has come from acquisitions. The Rich deal is the 29th it has made since 2005, and the 15th in the last two years. "We will remain acquisitive," DiBlasi told an industry conference in Palm Beach, Fla. earlier this month before the Rich deal was announced.
Roadrunner, which went public in May 2010, is an "asset-light" provider, meaning it controls its fleet utilization but for the most part doesn't own the equipment or have company-owned drivers. The company believes the industry's pendulum has swung in favor of companies that control their own capacity, with those players increasingly taking market share and gaining pricing leverage.
DiBlasi told the conference that providers of truckload services and transportation management systems (TMS) would be high on Roadrunner's 2014 acquisition list as the company looks to expand its product and service offerings. Nearly one-third of Roadrunner's customer base uses it for more than one service, he said.
Roadrunner focuses on small to mid-size shippers because those firms tend to be more profitable than larger businesses and have a greater need for the full-service portfolio that the company offers, DiBlasi told the conference.
David G. Ross, transportation analyst for Baltimore-based Stifel, Nicolaus & Co., said the Rich acquisition fits Roadrunner's strategy of buying smaller companies with asset-light operations and with minimal need for costly IT integration, and then allowing the existing management team to remain after the deal.
Roadrunner posted 2013 revenue of more than $1.3 billion, compared to 2012 revenue of $1.07 billion. Net income in 2013 rose to $85.3 million to $68.9 million in 2012. The company said it posted strong year-over-year revenue and income results in the fourth quarter. However, income was affected by higher-than-expected reserves set aside for accident-related claims, and by the costs of operating newer LTL terminals that lack the freight density of the company's legacy terminals.