Heartland Express Acquires Smith Transport, Inc. And Related Companies
NORTH LIBERTY, IA… Heartland Express, Inc. (NASDAQ: HTLD) (“Heartland”), one of North America’s largest and most profitable truckload transportation companies, announced that it has acquired 100% of the equity of dry van truckload carrier Smith Transport, Inc. and related entities (“Smith”), for an aggregate value of approximately $170 million.
Michael Gerdin, Chairman, President, and CEO of Heartland Express, commented: “We are proud to welcome the Smith people, customers, and brand to the Heartland Express family. We are extremely happy to bring aboard a company with a rich tradition of trucking for more than forty years. It is truly an honor to have Smith Transport join our team. The Smith companies will continue to operate from Roaring Spring, Pennsylvania, under the leadership of Todd Smith, President, with ongoing support from founder and legend Barry Smith. We were attracted to this opportunity for three main reasons: the safe and experienced professional drivers, the high level of service offered to a blue-chip customer base, and the management depth that demonstrate the ability to continue operating independently and profitably. Our plan is to keep Smith the same company that is attractive to customers, drivers, and other personnel, while using our scale to offer better purchasing, more depth, and advantageous cost savings. Our trucking experience is deep across the board with longtime Heartland employees, the knowledge and experience of our Millis leadership, and now adding the Smith attributes to the team. This makes us even stronger as a combined company. The purchase price was funded with existing cash, and the addition of Smith is expected to be immediately accretive to our earnings per share.”
Founded in 1982, Smith Transport is an asset-based truckload carrier headquartered in Roaring Spring, Pennsylvania, with terminal locations in Pennsylvania, Georgia, and Indiana. Smith primarily provides dry van transportation and other specialized services in the eastern United States. Smith’s customer base includes many Fortune 500 companies including expedited transportation integrators, retailers, beverage manufacturers, and home supply companies, several of whom have been customers for over 20 years. Smith operates a fleet of approximately 850 company tractors, with an average age of less than three years, and approximately 2,000 dry van trailers. The modern fleet is not expected to require any out of cycle investment.
Todd Smith, Smith’s President, commented, “As an employee-owned company, our goal was to find the best value and the best home for our people for years to come. We had long thought Heartland was a great fit because their regional presence, respect for professional drivers, and unsurpassed customer service that mirrors our own 2 philosophies. With the ability to pay cash and invest in our headquarters, and the desire for Smith to remain an independent brand operated by the same people, the choice was clear. I’m excited to work with Mike Gerdin and the Heartland team to make this a success for everyone.”
Barry Smith, Smith’s Founder and Chairman Emeritus, commented, “Building Smith Transport has been my life’s work, and I could not have found a better home than Heartland for the Smith family. They offer us long-term stability and the opportunity to grow as part of an industry leader, while retaining our own culture and identity. I look forward to being part of the team to ensure a smooth transition.”