Auto transporter files for Chapter 11; affects 16 companies

| 6/25/2008

The parent company of 16 individual automotive transport companies filed for bankruptcy in U.S. Bankruptcy Court in the District of Delaware on Tuesday, June 24. JHT Holdings Inc., based in Kenosha, WI, won’t be closing its doors though.

Reuters reported that the Chapter 11 filing followed an agreement with creditors to restructure through a “prepackaged” bankruptcy deal.

The 16 companies owned by JHT, specialize in hauling everything from consumer automobiles to heavy-duty trucks. The majority of the parent company’s business comes from hauling new and used Class 5-8 trucks.

Companies owned by JHT Holdings include the Active Truck Transport Division (Active U.S.A. Inc. and Active Canada), which supplies truck transport services for North American truck manufacturers, including Paccar, Freightliner and Navistar Inc.

Another major division, Unimark, is a full-service drive-away and carhaul company serving all of North America. That company operates terminals throughout the U.S. and Canada.

The Milwaukee Journal quoted the head of JHT Holdings as saying the filing is a “financial strategy” and that the company is not really being forced into Chapter 11 bankruptcy.

Company officials reported in the bankruptcy filing that while the company has between $100 million and $500 million in assets, it also has liabilities of between $100 million to $500 million.

Reuters reported company officials blame JHT’s decline on a significant reduction in demand for large diesel trucks after new emission standards in 2007 increased the costs of making diesel engines, leading to higher truck prices.

Company officials do not expect daily operations to be affected.