Thursday, November 05, 2009

Yellow Brick Wall: Undercutting YRC keeps LTL rates down

Sometimes the highways can look a lot like the jungle landscape seen in reruns of Mutual of Omaha's Wild Kingdom.

Marlin Perkins narrated the '60's-era show back then, but today it's The Wall Street Journal reporting predatory activity along the trucking LTL food chain.

The Prey? Beleaguered LTL freight giant Yellow-Roadway Corp. (YRC), which, the Journal reports, has been under raptor-like attack from its competitors who are trying to price the carrier out of business.

And because of the size of market share controlled by the carriers involved, the cutthroat pricing is keeping rates depressed across the entire sector.

David Congdon, CEO of Old Dominion Freight Line, told the paper that although the recession has led to the worst pricing environment he's ever seen, some pricing trends "likely stem from deliberate moves to undercut YRC," which has flirted with bankruptcy more than once this year. Full Story......

Sunday, November 01, 2009

YRC Worldwide says cutting 900 nonunion jobs

* Says removing 900 nonunion workers

* Says no further cuts seen at this time

* Says YRC is 75 percent of way to cost cut target

Leading U.S. trucker YRC Worldwide Inc said on Friday it is cutting about 900 nonunion jobs in what could be the final round of layoffs in the company's broad financial restructuring.

The job cuts will be completed in the fourth quarter and should save the company between $15 million and $20 million, according to company officials. Full Story....

YRC Worldwide Works to Reduce Customer Losses

New shippers, existing customers help balance 'leaking business,' Zollars says

YRC Worldwide is still losing business, but it's gaining new customers as well, leading to "stabilization" of its customer base and improved yields, top company officials say.

"We've got new customers coming on board all the time," Chairman, President and CEO William D. Zollars said in an Oct. 30 conference call with analysts.

"We've also got a very stable base of customers that have not left and are still doing business with us," Zollars said. He said, however, that "it's a mixed bag," admitting "we have customers that are leaking business and have moved away from us."

His observation supports anecdotal reports from shippers, consultants and analysts that YRC Worldwide has stemmed the exodus of large shippers who fled the company late last year and early this year amid speculation that YRC might shut down and the integration of Roadway and Yellow Transportation. Full Story......

YRC in debt exchange talks

* 95 pct of bondholders needed to convert

* Ratings downgrades follow announcement

* Shares end down 10 percent (Adds byline, updates with ratings agency comment,)

YRC Worldwide Inc is well on the road to regaining its financial footing as it negotiates with bondholders for a debt exchange, company officials said on Friday.

YRC wants to exchange its outstanding USF 8-1/2 percent notes and its contingent convertible notes and is currently negotiating the terms of such an exchange with a committee of its noteholders, with the goal of having a deal by the end of the year, YRC Chairman Bill Zollars said on Friday. Full Story.....

YRC Worldwide gives president title to COO Wicks

YRC Worldwide Inc. Chairman and CEO Bill Zollars has given his president title to recently named COO Timothy Wicks.

On Thursday, directors of Overland Park-based YRC made the change, according to a Friday filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission. Zollars said the board’s action acknowledged a change that actually was made on Oct. 5, but was not included in a company announcement at that time.

Wicks has been a rising star at the trucking giant, which has been making dramatic efforts to survive the recession. He started at YRC a year ago as its CFO and was promoted to the new COO position on Oct. 5.

“Tim’s provided great value to the company since he joined us in October of last year,” Zollars said. “... He has been actively involved in both finance and operational decisions since he got here and has been instrumental in moving forward our comprehensive plan.”

With Sheila Taylor ready to take the CFO role, Zollars said, it was time for Wicks to focus on the operational side of the business.

Before YRC, Wicks was senior vice president of strategic growth initiatives at UnitedHealthcare Services Inc.

Zollars had been chairman, president and CEO of the company since Nov. 9, 1999, according to a biography on YRC’s Web site. He has led YRC through two big acquisitions that helped make the company the largest in its sector but also saddled the company with debt.

YRC, which Friday morning reported a $158.7 million loss for the third quarter, has put off pension payments, cut wages, laid off thousands of workers, sold property, won two rounds of concessions from union workers and gotten repeated leniency from creditors in its efforts to survive the drawn-out freight recession.