One of USA Truck’s minority investors and its manager are calling for changes within the trucking company, including selling off all or part of to ousting its current leader.
On Monday, ADW Capital Partners, which owns nearly 3% of the Arkansas-based fleet, sent a letter to the company’s board of directors urging members to “take a multi-step approach to unlock shareholder value at the company.”
ADW Managing Member Adam Wyden said although the company's stock has risen in value, "most of this appreciation can be credited to Knight Transportation’s unsolicited hostile bid for USA Truck and is not evidence of a substantial turnaround in USA Truck’s operations."
He said the company’s share price is still undervalued.
In July, USA Truck reported a second quarter profit of $700,000, its first profit in since 2011.
USA Truck and Knight reached a settlement earlier this year, ending Knight’s bid for the carrier. However, the agreement ends in September, raising the prospect Knight could make another attempt at USA.
“We believe USA Truck’s current disappointing market valuation continues to reflect shared investor concern over the long-term viability of USA Truck’s companywide profitability, senior management’s inability to manage a truckload business of this size, and the workings of a ‘ho-hum’ corporate culture with most company officers having very little invested in USA Truck,” the letter said. “Those who do have an equity stake in USA Truck also seem to sell at every opportunity possible. Why should these people be running USA Truck if they don’t believe or care about its future?”
In an interview with Arkansas Business, Wyden said he would like the USA board to fire CEO John Simone, but also lashed out at Cliff Beckham, who was the previous CEO for five years. Wyden has written similar letters to at least four other companies in which ADW has a minority stake, according to Arkansas Business.
“It’s ridiculous they had Cliff Beckham there so long. I know people in the South like to be nice. I’m not interested in being an Arkansas blue blood. You’ve got a trucking company that is not making any money,” he told the publication. "Cliff was very successful in running the company into the ground."
Simone took over as CEO in February, 2013 with Beckham returning to his previous role as chief financial officer and executive vice president before announcing earlier this month he will leave at the end of September.