Photo: Forward Air

Photo: Forward Air

Yet another indicator of the upswing in trucking mergers and acquisitions is word that Forward Air Corporation has announced its wholly owned subsidiary, Central States Trucking Co., will buy substantially all of the assets of Atlantic Trucking Co., a Charleston, S.C.-based privately held provider of intermodal and drayage services.

The purchase is consistent with Greeneville, TN-based Forward Air’s strategy over the past several years to expand its intermodal holdings via acquisition.

Stifel analysts termed the deal “a bolt-on acquisition,” as Atlantic's service area “basically plugs a Southeastern hole in CST's drayage footprint.”

The transaction is expected to close by the end of Q2. No terms were disclosed, but Stifel estimated the price was in the $25 million range, or five times Atlantic’s $5.1 million EBITDA figure for last year. During calendar year 2016, Atlantic generated approximately $62.3 million in revenue.

The deal includes the assets of Atlantic Trucking Co. along with those of Heavy Duty Equipment Leasing LLC, Atlantic Logistics LLC, and Transportation Holdings Inc.

“We are pleased to add Atlantic to our Intermodal segment,” said Matthew Jewell, president of Logistics Services at Forward Air. “Atlantic has the management talent, fleet size, customer base, geographic footprint and quality of operations that we have been looking for to serve as our Southeast beachhead, and to complement our Midwest legacy locations.”

M&A activity in the trucking space has picked up of late, most notably reflected in the mega-deal announced ealrier this week to bring Knight and Swift together