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Truckin' on.

Truckin' On

Arkansas Best Corp. Tops Arkansas Business Top 50

Since 1978, Arkansas Best Freight has grown from the country's 22nd-largest to its fifth-largest motor carrier of general commodities.

That's the major reason why Arkansas Best Corp. of Fort Smith is No. 1 on the Arkansas Business Top 50.

Arkansas Best Corp. is a diversified holding company engaged through its subsidiaries in motor carrier operations, truck tire retreading and new tire sales.

Arkansas Best Corp. was acquired in a 1988 leveraged buyout by Kelso & Company. Arkansas Best was organized in Fort Smith in 1935.

Treadco Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Arkansas Best Corp., recently filed a registration statement with the Securities and Exchange Commission for an initial public offering of 2.5 million shares of common stock, representing about 51 percent of the common stock of Treadco.

Treadco is the nation's largest independent tire retreader for the trucking industry and the country's second-largest commercial truck tire dealer.

Meanwhile, about 98 percent of ABF's business consists of less-than-truckload (LTL) shipments. LTL carriers differ from full-truckload carriers by transporting a wide variety of shipments to diverse destinations. Generally, full-truckload companies operate from the shipper's dock to the receiver's facility and require little fixed investment beyond the cost of the trucks.

ABF, as an LTL carrier, operates on a hub-and-spoke system. Small shipments are picked up by local trucks and consolidated at nearby terminals. The shipments then are loaded according to their destination.

Depending on where the shipments are going, truckloads may go through the process again before reaching local terminals.

In anticipation of deregulation of the trucking industry, ABF embarked in the 1970s on a program of expansion designed to transform the company from a regional to a national carrier.

The acquisition of Navajo Freight Lines Inc. in 1978 extended ABF's routes into the western and southwestern United States.

The acquisition of East Texas Motor Freight in 1982 added to ABF's services in the Midwest and the South and extended coverage into the Northwest.

ABF increased its number of terminals from 67 in 1978 to 160 in 1982. The company now has 319 terminals.

During the mid-1980s, ABF completed a three-year capital expenditure program, acquiring $148.7 million worth of equipment. The company accelerated replacement of its road trailers to take advantage of new allowances in width and length permitted by the Surface Transportation Assistance Act of 1982. ABF also purchased additional city equipment to support its expansion.

PHOTO : THE VERY BEST: No. 1 on the Arkansas Business Top 50, Arkansas Best Corp. acquired $148.7 million worth of equipment in a three-year capital expenditure program during the mid-1980s.

Ruth Mitchell Arkansas Business Staff
COPYRIGHT 1991 Journal Publishing, Inc.
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Copyright 1991 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Title Annotation:Arkansas Best Corp. is number 1 on the Arkansas Business Top 50 ranking due to its subsidiary Arkansas Best Freight trucking business
Author:Harper, Kim
Publication:Arkansas Business
Article Type:company profile
Date:Jul 15, 1991
Words:443
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