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Roadrunner to sell Prime division to CHRW to help clean up balance sheet

Roadrunner Transportation will be able to take a significant step in improving its balance sheet following its agreement to sell its Prime Distribution Services business to C.H. Robinson Worldwide (NASDAQ: CHRW).

The sale of Prime Distribution, which is part of Roadrunner’s Ascent division, will be for $225 million in cash. At the end of the third quarter, according to Roadrunner’s (NYSE: RRTS) 10-Q report filed with the SEC, the company had just $5.8 million in cash, down from $11.2 million at the end of 2018’s third quarter.

Prime, according to the statement on the sale issued by Roadrunner, “offers a comprehensive suite of retail consolidation solutions, with five food grade warehouse facilities strategically located across the nation and a team of retail supply chain experts dedicated to helping clients achieve compliance with large U.S. retailer delivery and in-stock requirements.”

Its sales for the full year in 2019 were $108.7 million. The Ascent division had revenue of $387.7 million for the nine months ended Sept. 30 and an operating loss of $29.1 million in the third quarter.

However, although the sale will bring in more than $200 million in cash, debt reduction rather than building a larger cash stockpile is planned for the proceeds.

“The divestiture of Prime Distribution Services is a unique opportunity for us to significantly improve our balance sheet by paying off all borrowings under our ABL and Term Loan Credit Facilities,” CEO Curt Stoelting said in the statement announcing the sale.

The asset-based lending facilities and the term loan credit facilities, totaling roughly $260 million, were taken on by Roadrunner last February in a restructuring of the company. Through that restructuring, Elliott Management now holds the vast majority of the common shares. Those facilities have been modified since February.

That restructuring lifted burdensome preferred share payments that Roadrunner was making to Elliott. The earlier Elliott purchase of those preferred shares is generally credited with giving Roadrunner a chance to reorganize.

Roadrunner has been struggling since an accounting scandal in June 2018. It posted an operating loss of $97.75 million in the third quarter and a nine-month operating loss of $266.7 million.

When the company restructured itself early last year, the one independent analyst who followed them, Bruce Chan of Stifel, actually predicted a sale like this as a result.

The sale is expected to close by the end of the first quarter, Roadrunner said.The C.H. Robinson release on the sale said Prime has approximately 270 employees and about 140 customers. It is based in Plainfield, Indiana.

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John Kingston

John has an almost 40-year career covering commodities, most of the time at S&P Global Platts. He created the Dated Brent benchmark, now the world’s most important crude oil marker. He was Director of Oil, Director of News, the editor in chief of Platts Oilgram News and the “talking head” for Platts on numerous media outlets, including CNBC, Fox Business and Canada’s BNN. He covered metals before joining Platts and then spent a year running Platts’ metals business as well. He was awarded the International Association of Energy Economics Award for Excellence in Written Journalism in 2015. In 2010, he won two Corporate Achievement Awards from McGraw-Hill, an extremely rare accomplishment, one for steering coverage of the BP Deepwater Horizon disaster and the other for the launch of a public affairs television show, Platts Energy Week.