Celadon buys Roberson van division

| 1/18/2005

A subsidiary of Celadon Group Inc. has purchased the truckload van business and approximately 370 tractors and 670 trailers of CX Roberson Inc. for approximately $22.7 million.

A Celadon press release announced the purchase of the Roberson van unit Jan. 18. The purchase did not include Roberson’s flatbed business or its assets.

Celadon plans to offer jobs to approximately 320 Roberson drivers and expects to integrate the operation “promptly” according to the press release. Of the 370 trucks purchased, Celadon only anticipates keeping 200 of the newer trucks and 200 newer trailer units. The additional Roberson drivers will keep their units until seated with newer equipment.

The press release touted a “better than the industry average” driver turnover for the past few years, and said the company plans to “work hard” to retain the Roberson drivers.

During the early transition, Celadon officials will focus on the most favorable freight and discontinue hauling freight that does not fit the company’s operations; assist with driver retention and minimize the risk of unseated tractors following the acquisition; and operate a newer fleet with lower maintenance costs.

According to the Roberson’s unaudited financial statements, the Champaign, IL-based van division of CX Roberson generated approximately $45 million in gross revenue in 2004. The press release said that Celadon company officials thought Roberson had a core group of high-quality customers and drivers, but suffered from the excessive cost structure that plagues many mid-sized carriers.

Additional comments from Celadon officials were not available at press time. Roberson officials did not return repeated phone calls from Land Line.

– By Jami Jones, Land Line staff