ArcBest expands logistics arm with $5.17 million move into Oklahoma City

by The City Wire staff ([email protected]) 289 views 

Efforts by Fort Smith-based ArcBest to grow its ABF Logistics division took a small step forward with the $5.17 million purchase of Oklahoma City-based Smart Lines Transportation. With annual revenue of $18 million, Smart Lines annual revenue of around $18 million is just 0.78% of ArcBest revenue, but expands the logistics arm into a metro area of around 1.3 million people that in 2013 was the seventh fastest growing U.S. metro area.

Smart Lines, founded in 2003, has 24 employees and provides most of its freight brokerage service in the the food, energy and industrial segments.

“The purchase of Smart Lines Transportation Group is an important step in our strategy to grow the emerging businesses at ArcBest and provide a variety of supply chain services to our customers in the way they expect,” ABF Logistics President Jim Ingram, said in the statement issued Monday (Jan. 5). “We believe the talent pool in Oklahoma City is vibrant and thriving, making it an ideal location for ABF Logistics’ first branch outside the Fort Smith area. We have plans to aggressively expand this branch and are excited about the growth prospects ahead.”

Greg Roush, who founded Smart Lines and served as president, has been named branch director of the Oklahoma City location for ABF Logistics. He has 30 years experience in the trucking industry, primarily in the truckload segment.

“Our current and future customers are gaining greater access to more resources through ABF Logistics and its sister companies ABF Freight and Panther Premium Logistics. We’re excited to become part of the broader ArcBest team, with its reputation for going above and beyond to solve complex transportation needs,” Roush said in the statement.

Fort Smith-based ArcBest Corp. – formerly known as Arkansas Best Corp. – announced May 30 a $30 million plan that will see the construction of a new office building and data center at Chaffee Crossing and the addition of an estimated 975 corporate jobs by 2021.

The company will retain its high-profile, 195,000-square-feet corporate headquarter building on Old Greenwood Road in Fort Smith. That facility, which opened in early 1995, is expected to provide space for the consolidation of ABF Freight and ArcBest Technologies offices. Moving corporate and logistics jobs out of the existing corporate headquarters will allow room for expansion at ABF Freight and ArcBest.

ArcBest’s largest subsidiary is less-than-truckload carrier ABF Freight System. The non-asset subsidiaries are Panther Premium Logistics, ABF Logistics, FleetNet, ABF Moving and ArcBest Technologies (formerly known as Data-Tronic.). ArcBest officials have said growth in the non-asset businesses are necessary to diversify the company’s revenue stream and to help reach a goal of $3 billion in revenue in 2014.

ArcBest is expected to post its second year of positive income in 2014. The fourth quarter and full year earnings report is expected in late January or early February.

Net income during 2013 for ArcBest was $15.8 million, much better than the $7.7 million loss in 2012 and the most the company has earned in a year since 2008.

For the first nine months of 2014, ArcBest has recorded net income of $31.633 million, considerably better than the $5.465 million in the same period of 2013. Total revenue for the first nine months of 2014 is $1.947 billion, up 11.6% compared to the 2013 nine-month period.

The consensus of analyst estimates for the fourth quarter is per share net income of 44 cents, better than the 38 cents in the 2013 fourth quarter. Revenue for the quarter is predicted to hit $652.06 million, compared to $578.55 million in the 2013 fourth quarter.

The full year earnings estimate is $1.72 per share, well ahead of the 59 cents per share in 2013. The revenue estimate is $2.6 billion, also better than the almost $2.3 billion in 2013.

Shares of ArcBest (NASDAQ: ARCB), which opened at $45.61, were trading down about 1.13% in late afternoon trading. During the past 52 weeks the share price has ranged from a $47.52 high to a $29.88 low.