National Carriers included in sale of beef processors to Brazilian company

| 3/20/2008

The acquisition of National Beef by a Brazilian company included the sale of trucking company National Carriers of Liberal, KS.

Brazilian beef giant JBS announced in early March that the company had acquired National Beef Packing Company – the fourth largest beef processor in the U.S. – from U.S. Premium Beef along with two other beef processors, Smithfield Beef Group and Tasman Group. JBS will pay National Beef shareholders $465 million in cash and $95 million in JBS stock and assume $425 million in company debts.

National Carriers, established in 1968, operates a large reefer fleet and a livestock division for National Beef.

Owner-operator Ron Powers speaks highly of National Carriers, a company he has been leased to for a total of eight years.

“National Carriers is a good company. If you learn your way around the system, you can make money here,” Powers told Land Line on Tuesday, March 18.

Powers hauls meat products in the Lower 48. He has logged more than 1.1 million miles in his 2001 Western Star since he bought it.

“This is the third truck I’ve gone a million on,” said the Meade, KS, resident, who has owned 13 trucks in his 38 years of over-the-road experience. “I started driving in 1970 and owned my first truck in ’75.”

Powers has seen the trucking industry change numerous times. Even with fuel surcharges, he said the high cost of operation for owner-operators, a weakened U.S. dollar, and fear of the unknown are among the biggest concerns.

That goes for the sale of his carrier to a Brazilian company.

“As far as my wife and I are concerned, I’m trying to keep up with it and what it means for me to be leased to National,” Powers said. “I’m wondering if it’s going to benefit the drivers.”

Large purchases of American businesses by foreign companies are nothing new.

While some analysts believe large infusions of foreign cash is a necessary part of doing business, others aren’t so sure.

Fortune magazine writer Geoff Colvin summed it up in a Feb. 18 article titled “America For Sale.”

Colvin wrote, “As a nation we eventually cease to be capitalists and become simply wage earners.”

– By David Tanner, staff writer