Rocky Mountain Trucking LLC

Asset-light trucking provider Forward Air announced Wednesday it will acquire expedited less-than-truckload provider Land Air Express for $56.5 million.

Bowling Green, Kentucky-based Land Air Express’ network includes 270 employees and over 200 drivers operating out of more than 25 terminals throughout the U.S. Its offering includes guaranteed, same-day, hot shot and pickup and delivery services of shipments as small as an individual parcel up to a full trailer load.

The company is listed with 302 power units, according to Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration data.

The nearly 40-year-old company expands Forward’s (NASDAQ: FWRD) airport-to-airport LTL network and includes the addition of four new markets. Forward expects the deal to contribute between $74 million and $94 million in revenue annually. The integration will take approximately one year.

“This acquisition will accelerate the expansion of our national terminal footprint, particularly in the middle part of the United States, and we believe it will strategically position us to better meet the current and future needs of customers,” said Tom Schmitt, Forward’s chairman, president and CEO, in a news release. “We believe this acquisition will increase our capacity to provide customers with the industry leading on-time and damage-free service they demand.”

The transaction is expected to close Jan. 31 and will be funded with cash on hand as well as funds from Forward’s existing credit facility.

Acquisition price$56.5M
Land Air Express’ revenue run rate$84M at midpoint of guidance range
Forward’s revenue run rate$1.95B (LTM)
Expected synergiesrevenue synergies from connecting terminals; productivity gains from consolidating systems, processes and people
Earnings expectationsnot disclosed
Past acquisitions by ForwardChickasaw Container Services, Edgmon Trucking, Proficient Transport, BarOle Trucking, TKI Intermodal, Value Logistics, CLW Delivery, FSA Logistix, Linn Star Holdings, Towne Air Freight and Central States Trucking among others
Table: Company reports

Since the middle of 2020, Forward has been focused on building out its LTL operation, offering a more traditional service in addition to its airport routes. Over the same period, the company used a favorable freight market to swap out underperforming customer accounts with heavier, high-yielding shipments from an industrial tech client base.

However, most of its recent acquisitions have been intermodal drayage and final-mile providers, not LTL carriers.

“Our core LTL business is the key growth area for Forward, and the purchase of Land Air Express is an important addition to our LTL growth opportunities,” Schmitt added.

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