Trucking firm Celadon sells tractor portfolio for $13.6M

Trucking company Celadon Group Inc. sold a portfolio of semi tractors and their associated leases for $13.6 million to a joint venture controlled by a private-equity firm, Indianapolis-based Celadon announced late Friday.

Celadon said it made the sale to support its Quality Cos. business unit, which manages tractors.

The purchaser was 19th Capital Group LLC, a joint venture controlled by Wayne, Pennsylvania-based equity firm Larsen MacColl Partners, with a minority investment by Celadon and Celadon management.

Celadon said it made a minority investment in 19th Capital Group as part of the tractor sale, which also includes management participation.

"The structure is expected to allow us to account for the investment under the equity method of accounting," Celadon said in a written statement. "In addition, with this investment, we will record a share of the joint venture's profit or loss on the lease income stream and residual sale value of the tractors, which we currently do not share in under the contract with our current financing partner."

Celadon said it expects to make additional sales to 19th Capital in the future.

Celadon's Quality Cos. unit has grown tractors under management from 750 to about 4,900 since June 30, 2013. Celadon said it buys the tractors "on favorable terms through our consolidated buying power," then sells them to a third- party financing company, which leases them to independent contractors who provide capacity to Celadon and other trucking companies.

Quality Cos. provides driver recruiting for those tractors, as well as lease-payment remittance, insurance, maintenance and other services for a fee.

The subsidiary has about 13,000 tractors on order from several manufacturers, scheduled to be delivered over the next three years, Celadon said.

Celadon announced the sale after the market closed Friday. Company shares dropped 1 percent earlier in the day, to close at $15.84 each.

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