Global logistics giant signs deal to buy USA Truck

One of the world's largest logistics companies has signed a deal to buy USA Truck Inc., a move executives say sets them up for more U.S. growth. DB Schenker, a subsidiary of Germany's national railway Deutsche Bahn, will pay about £435 million in cash for Arkansas-based USA Truck, which last year produced a profit of nearly £25 million on revenues of £710 million. (A year earlier, those numbers were £4.7 million and £551 million, respectively.)  DB Schenker runs 123 distribution centers spanning more than 27 million square feet in the Americas and plans to connect that air and ocean transport and logistics network to USA Trucks' 12 terminals. "USA Truck is the perfect match for DB Schenker's strategic ambition to expand our network in North America," said Jochen Thewes, DB Schenker's CEO. "Together we will enhance our shared value proposition and invest in exciting growth opportunities and sustainable logistics solutions for new and existing clients."

USA Truck, which was founded in 1983, runs a fleet of about 1,900 trucks and 6,000 trailers that service more than 600 customers. The carrier runs the 44th larger for-hire fleet in the U.S., according to the 2022 FleetOwner 500: For-Hire. Its business is split relatively evenly between trucking, which generated £22.6 million of operating income in 2021, and logistics (£14.7 million). The latter grew its top-line strongly in 2021 to more than £323 million and President and CEO James Reed set a goal to grow that number to £400 million by 2024.

The company's trucking operations are focused on the eastern half of the United States - eight of its dozen terminals are in Georgia (four), Florida, Illinois, Ohio, and Pennsylvania - and its leaders want to continue down that path. "This transaction provides immediate and significant value for USA Truck stockholders, offers broadened career opportunities for our employees and increased capacity and service offerings with which to support our customers, and better positions our company to realize our long-term vision to become the premier North American transportation solutions provider," Reed said in a statement. Shares of USA Truck (Ticker: USAK) more than doubled June 24 to about £30.75 on the buyout news.

The DB Schenker deal, which is expected to close by year's end, calls for investors to be paid £31.72 per share.