One of trucking's most prominent families is poised to leave its nest.
Schneider National Inc., the nation's largest privately held trucking company, said late Friday that it intends to go public sometime in 2017 as long as market conditions are favorable. An initial public offering would end more than 80 years of mostly family leadership.
In a statement, the Green Bay, Wis.-based truckload and logistics giant said the objectives of a public offering "would be to facilitate continuity of controlling ownership of Schneider" for future generations and to "maintain and further investments in its long-term positioning." The company did not go into detail in the statement, and declined additional comment beyond the statement.
Schneider said total annual revenue today stands at about $4.2 billion. Based on that number, Benjamin Gordon, head of BG Strategic Advisors LLC, a logistics merger and acquisition consultancy, pegged a Schneider IPO at around $4 billion. Gordon presumed Schneider's operating margins were equal to the truckload industry's average of 15 percent of earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortization (EBITDA). Gordon also estimated that a Schneider IPO would be valued at a multiple of 7 times trailing EBITDA. He arrived at the $4 billion approximate price tag by multiplying $600 million in annual margin by a multiple of seven.
The company was founded by Al Schneider in 1935. His son, Don, took the reins in 1976 and led the company through trucking deregulation in 1980, as well as significant expansion during ensuing years into multiple services and geographies. Don Schneider retired as president and CEO in 2002, turning the reins over to Christopher B. Lofgren, who still holds both positions. Don Schneider passed away in January 2012.
Gordon believes the Schneider family is the catalyst behind the company's decision to go public. Though Don Schneider had long ago relinquished day-to-day duties, his death created a void of sorts because there was no longer a family member at the helm, Gordon said. "With Chris Lofgren and the management team comprised of professional executives rather than family, there was a disconnect," Gordon said in an e-mail.
As a public company, Schneider would be able to generate capital for growth opportunities while providing liquidity for the family, Gordon said.