YRC Worldwide Inc.’s lenders gave the troubled trucker a three-and-a-half year reprieve on its heavy debt load as the company prepares for a $700 million federal bailout package.
The Overland Park, Kan.-based freight carrier said in a securities filing Wednesday that its lenders agreed to extend the maturity date on one lending facility until 2024, and to extend and further ease some requirements on a roughly $580 million term loan from a group led by affiliates of Apollo Global Management Inc.
Those deals were negotiated as YRC was working out the terms for a planned $700 million federal loan announced last week, YRC Chief Financial Officer Jamie Pierson said in an interview.
Altogether, the agreements give YRC “three and half years to focus on the business, with no maturities at all,” Mr. Pierson said. “It’s a new day. We’ve just got to not blow it up.”
YRC, the fifth-largest trucking company in the U.S. by revenue, according to SJ Consulting Group Inc., carries some $880 million in long-term debt and was struggling to turn its operations around when the coronavirus pandemic hit, delivering a significant blow to its business. The Treasury Department loan, through a provision of the $2.2 trillion coronavirus stimulus bill, will over time nearly double its debt load to around $1.6 billion, Mr. Pierson said.
The trucker plans to use a $300 million tranche of the government loan to pay off health, pension and other obligations, and for working capital, Mr. Pierson said. Another $400 million will go toward buying new trucks and trailers for YRC’s aging fleet, according to the filing. That loan will mature on Sept. 30, 2024.
YRC doesn’t plan to pay the debt down during the life of the loan, intending instead to either pay it off or refinance at maturity, Mr. Pierson said.
“We are going to take every penny we can and invest it back into this company, and invest in the fleet and the rolling stock,” he said, which will reduce the company’s operating costs. Buying new trucks will save YRC between $10,000 and $12,000 per tractor “on maintenance alone,” he said. It is “not only refreshing the fleet, but it’s also additional liquidity to operate the business.”
YRC serves big retail shippers such as Walmart Inc. and Home Depot Inc., along with automotive and industrial customers. The company generated $4.87 billion in operating revenue last year but has long struggled with heavy debt and pension liabilities for its largely unionized workforce.
Under the federal loan agreement, YRC has agreed to issue about 15.9 million shares of common stock to the Treasury Department, according to a Tuesday securities filing, giving the government a 29.6% stake in the business and diluting the shares of existing investors. That equity will be delivered to a voting trust, and once a one-year holding period expires the government is free to sell or hold the stock as it sees fit, Mr. Pierson said.
The boost from the government loan will offset the dilution to existing investors’ shares “in spades,” Mr. Pierson said. “The market value of the company has increased…since the deal was announced.”
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