Panther Expedited files to go public

Updated Aug 24, 2010

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Panther Expedited Services, Inc., on Aug. 6 filed a registration statement with the Securities and Exchange Commission for an initial public offering of common stock. The Seville, Ohio, based-expedited transportation company said in the preliminary prospectus that its non-asset based transportation network consists of approximately 1,075 exclusive-use owner-operator vehicles, more than 1,600 third-party ground carriers that provide additional North American capacity and more than 500 air and ocean cargo carriers that provide global reach. Panther ranked No. 110 in the just-completed CCJ Top 250 annual ranking of for-hire trucking companies

Currently, funds managed by private equity investment firm Fenway Partners own more than 75 percent of Panther’s common stock and will remain the company’s largest shareholder after the IPO. New York-based Fenway Partners also owns a controlling interest in intermodal carrier RoadLink LLC and is a former owner of Greatwide Logistics Services.

Although Fenway will remain Panther’s largest shareholder it will no longer receive an annual management fee equal to the greater of $1.5 million or 5 percent of EBITDA. Fenway will, however, receive from the proceeds of the IPO a management agreement termination fee that isn’t spelled out in the preliminary prospectus.

For the six months ended June 30, 2010, Panther generated revenues of $95 million — up more than 43 percent from the same 2009 period, the carrier said. Panther’s operating profit for the first six months of this year was $284,000; in the same 2009 period, Panther lost almost $5.5 million, not counting the impact of $33.5 million in non-cash goodwill and trade name impairment charges. The company posted a net loss of $4.9 million in the first six months of this year after accounting for $8 million in interest and a $2.8 million tax benefit

A copy of Panther Expedited’s registration statement is available on SEC’s website.

Panther’s filing to pursue an initial public offering is the second in the past couple of weeks. Swift Transportation also would be a public company again under a registration statement filed in late July.