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Wabash to buy Supreme, looking to last-mile needs of trucking

Aug. 8, 2017
$350+ million deal expected to close in Q4

Looking to the e-commerce future of the supply chain, a couple of North America’s largest transportation equipment companies are teaming up in a cash deal for about a third of a billion dollars.

Trailer giant Wabash National Corporation and truck body builder Supreme Industries Inc. late Tuesday announced an agreement under which Wabash National would acquire all of the outstanding shares of Supreme in a cash tender offer for $21 per share, which represents an equity value of $364 million and an enterprise value of $342 million, according to the preliminary statement. The companies will host an investor call Wednesday to offer additional comments.

Founded in 1974, Supreme is the second largest U.S. manufacturer of truck bodies with 2016 sales of $299 million, according to the release. The company primarily manufactures light- and medium-duty truck bodies at seven facilities throughout the United States.

“Wabash National has been closely monitoring the transportation landscape as the growth of e-commerce has continued to change the logistics model,” said Dick Giromini, Wabash National’s chief executive officer. “We formally entered the final mile space in 2015 with the launch of our dry and refrigerated truck bodies, and we have been aggressively growing our presence and product offering over the past two years. This acquisition supports these efforts and accelerates our objective to transform our business into a more diversified industrial manufacturer.”

The acquisition is designed to combine Supreme’s medium- and light-duty commercial vehicle portfolio, distribution network, and regional manufacturing locations with Wabash National’s advanced composite technologies, expertise in lean manufacturing and optimization, engineering and design proficiency and strong supplier relationships.

Supreme provides Wabash National with significant growth and diversification benefits, in line with the company’s long-term strategic plan, including reduced dependence on dry van trailer demand, reduced cyclicality and new segments for growth, the statement said.

Wabash National added intends to build upon Supreme’s industry leadership, distributed manufacturing and installed sales force capacity to accelerate its successful organic truck body growth initiative, while preserving Supreme’s “heritage of excellence” in serving customers.

“This is a great opportunity for both companies to combine our strengths to provide an enhanced customer experience within the growing final mile delivery space,” Giromini added, noting the ability to provide “a broader conventional product offering to our existing customer base.”

Wabash National expects to deliver at least $20 million in “annual run-rate cost synergies” by 2021. The expected cost synergies are primarily driven by corporate and procurement expenditures, and operational improvement savings, the release said. In addition, over time, Wabash National expects to achieve significant incremental revenue opportunities that neither company could obtain on a standalone basis.

“This is an exciting day for Supreme. Combining with Wabash will enhance our ability to innovate more quickly and create more value for customers,” Supreme Industries’ CEO Mark Weber said. “We found a cultural fit with Wabash National. Because of their commitment to safety, innovation and customer relationships, I’m confident joining the Wabash National family will benefit our employees, customers and distributors.”

The deal details

Under the terms of the agreement and plan of merger, Wabash has formed an acquisition subsidiary, Redhawk Acquisition Corporation, that will commence a tender offer to purchase all outstanding shares of Supreme for $21 per share.

Following the completion of the tender offer, Wabash expects to consummate a merger of Redhawk Acquisition Corp. and Supreme in which shares of Supreme that have not been purchased in the tender offer will be converted into the right to receive the same cash price per share as paid in the tender offer.

The tender offer and the merger are subject to customary closing conditions set forth in the merger agreement, including the acquisition by Redhawk Acquisition Corp. of a majority of Supreme’s outstanding shares at the time of the consummation of the tender offer and the expiration or early termination of the waiting period under the Hart-Scott-Rodino Antitrust Improvements Act of 1976, as amended. The closing of the acquisition is expected to occur no later than the fourth quarter of 2017, the statement said.

The transaction is not subject to any financing condition. Wabash has obtained committed bridge financing from Morgan Stanley Senior Funding, Inc. and Wells Fargo Bank. The purchase price is expected to be funded by a combination of notes and cash.

The board of directors of Supreme approved the agreement and plan of merger, and recommended that Supreme’s stockholders accept the offer and tender their shares in the offer when it is made.

About the Author

Kevin Jones | Editor