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Saia acquires Robart Transportation, expands truckload brokerage and logistics presence

By Jeff Berman, Group News Editor
July 03, 2012

Multiregional less-than-truckload (LTL) carrier Saia said this week it has acquired truckload and brokerage services provider Robart Transportation Inc. and its subsidiary The RL Services Group LLC.

Saia officials said that the purchase price was roughly $7.8 million, as well as an earnout subject to the performance of the acquired companies in 2013. They added that the company plans to rebrand Robart under the Saia name in the fourth quarter.

Established in 1981, Duluth, Georgia-based Robart had $12 million in revenue in 2011. Its Robart Transportation group focuses on truckload and brokerage services, including expedited/time critical delivery offerings, full-service cross-dock and consolidation management, and guaranteed services, among others. And its RL Services Group provides various supply chain and logistics services, including mode, fleet, and operations analysis, carrier selection, fleet management, and data mining capabilities, among others.

Robart has roughly 40 employees and about 80 percent of its business is done on the truckload brokerage side, with the remaining 20 percent on the logistics side. Its customer base includes some major shippers, including Delta, AT&T, and Coca-Cola.

In an interview with LM, Saia President and CEO Rick O’Dell explained that as an asset-based LTL, Saia has not really had a professional logistics offering or truckload services, save for a partnership for a small amount of overflow truckload freight in the backhaul market.

“What we were really looking to do was to diversify our portfolio of offerings to our customer base,” he said. “While this is a small acquisition it is strategic in that it really expands our service offerings.”

With Saia and Robart roughly 15 miles apart from each other in Georgia, O’Dell said the close proximity makes the opportunities for things like cross-marketing to customers easier. But more importantly, he pointed out, what that Saia was looking for a company with strong operations and management.

And he said what Saia really wanted to do was buy a company with strong management and base of business and subsequently leverage it over the Saia customer business base for a period of time.

“When you look at these non-asset based companies, it is the service capabilities that they have and the leadership in a ‘people’ business,” said O’Dell. “The most important thing was that the management team was talented and wanted to stay with the company. It is growing at a double-digit level from a revenue growth standpoint and has an 89 operating ratio.”

Stifel Nicolaus analyst David Ross wrote in a research note that this is a “good acquisition” in that Saia bought a small, profitable company at a fair price and is keeping management in place, with the leverage coming from cross-selling services both from Saia customers to Robart and Robart customers to Saia. 

 

About the Author

Jeff Berman headshot
Jeff Berman
Group News Editor

Jeff Berman is Group News Editor for Logistics Management, Modern Materials Handling, and Supply Chain Management Review. Jeff works and lives in Cape Elizabeth, Maine, where he covers all aspects of the supply chain, logistics, freight transportation, and materials handling sectors on a daily basis. .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).


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