Wednesday, January 06, 2010

Arkansas Best officials not focused on YRC troubles

While the bankruptcy of national trucking giant YRC would boost the fortunes of Fort Smith-based Arkansas Best Corp., officials with the Fort Smith trucking company aren’t pinning their hopes on a YRC stumble.

Overland Park, Kan.-based YRC in the past few days avoided bankruptcy through a complex bond swap agreement with creditors. The deal essentially reduced the company’s debt by about $500 million and provided short-term support for working capital.

The less-than-truckload company had piled up a mountain of debt with the $1.07 billion acquisition of Roadway Corp. and the $1.23 billion acquisition of USF Corp. in 2005. The timing of the debt was terrible. A national freight recession began in October 2006 and continues today. As a result, YRC has posted $1.7 billion in losses in the past five quarters. For some perspective on the size of YRC and its troubles, Arkansas Best, the parent company of ABF Freight System, has lost $50.17 million in the past four quarters. Full Story.......

Trucking Execs Look Forward to Speech About Nat’l Outlook

The Traffic Club of Memphis isn’t wasting any time tackling issues that will be important to the trucking industry in 2010.

At its first monthly meeting, set for Tuesday at The Racquet Club of Memphis, the longtime trade association has invited Tommy Hodges, recently installed chairman of the American Trucking Association, to deliver a keynote speech about all things trucking.

The speech will be held at noon with event check-in at 11:15 a.m. Full details, including cost and registration information, can be found at the Traffic Club’s Web site,

Hodges, chairman of Shelbyville, Tenn.-based Titan Transfer Inc. and former chairman of the Tennessee Trucking Association, said he will address a variety of subjects pertaining to the trucking industry, such as what companies can do to cope with changes that have occurred or could occur this year. Full Story......

Tuesday, January 05, 2010

YRC and the Street's Appetite for Destruction

In the battle between the truckers and the hedge funds, the truckers won. The fact that YRC Worldwide almost went bust because of credit-default swaps shows how little has changed on Wall Street.

The struggle for survival at YRC, trucking company best known for its Yellow and Roadway-branded big rigs, attracted scant media attention in the waning days of 2009.

YRC did survive, but only after the last-minute intervention of the Teamsters union, which threatened to protest at the office of one Park Avenue hedge fund.

The fight revolved around credit-default swaps, the Wall Street invention that allows investors to profit when a company goes bust. Made famous for bringing down American International Group, credit-default swaps act like insurance policies on debt, and may make a company worth more dead than alive, at least to some investors. Complete Story....

YRC Worldwide Sets January 4, 2010 as Record Date for Special Shareholders Meeting

YRC Worldwide Inc. announced today that it has established a record date of January 4, 2010 for its special meeting of shareholders to vote on an amendment to its certificate of incorporation to increase the amount of authorized shares of common stock, to reduce the par value of the common stock and to effect a reverse stock split and to proportionately reduce the number of authorized shares of common stock, as previously described in the company's filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission in connection with its recently completed debt-for-equity exchange.

The company's shareholders as of the close of business on the record date will be entitled to vote at the special meeting. The company will file a preliminary proxy statement with the SEC detailing the specific matters to be considered at the special meeting. The company will set the date and time for the special meeting promptly following the completion of the SEC's review of the preliminary proxy statement.

The New and Improved LTL Industry

It’s no secret that the global economic crisis removed the veil that had obscured some fundamental weaknesses in business practices across the transportation and logistics sectors.

When times were good and it appeared that cargo container volumes would double every 10 years forever (remember the go-go years of 1998 through 2008?), the biggest challenges the logistics community seemed to face where how to clear cargo faster, how to get trucks in an out of port with fewer delays, and where best to store empty chassis (while keeping precious wharfs available for ever-growing stacks of containers).

But not everyone shared the fruits of the boom equally, and when the bottom fell out with the onset of the financial crisis in September 2008, many players suddenly found themselves struggling to survive.

This has been especially true in the realm of trucking firms specializing in LTL, the historic carriers of goods the first mile, from factory to dock, and the last mile, from warehouse to end user.

As in any recession, mega-carriers like FedEx and UPS have continued to expand their services and stand firm; smaller carriers—even those geographically well positioned—have been suffering. Full Story.......

Arkansas Best Corporation Announces Its Fourth Quarter 2009 Earnings Conference Call

Arkansas Best Corporation will announce its fourth quarter 2009 results, prior to the opening of the market, on Thursday, January 28, 2010. A conference call with company executives will be held that day at 11:00 a.m. ET (10:00 a.m. CT) to discuss these results. Interested parties are invited to listen by calling (877) 275-1257 or (706) 634-6529 (for international callers). Following the call, a recorded playback will be available through the end of the day on February 18, 2010. To listen to the playback, dial (800) 642-1687 or (706) 645-9291 (for international callers). The conference ID for the playback is 48841303.

This call is being webcast and can be accessed live on Arkansas Best's website at A replay of the webcast can be accessed at Arkansas Best's website through February 18.