Arkansas Best 10-K 2008
Documents found in this filing:
SECURITIES AND EXCHANGE COMMISSION
Washington, D.C. 20549
for the fiscal year December 31, 2007.
for the transition period from to .
Commission file number 0-19969
ARKANSAS BEST CORPORATION
(Exact name of registrant as specified in its charter)
Registrants telephone number, including area code 479-785-6000
Securities registered pursuant to Section 12(b) of the Act:
Securities registered pursuant to Section 12(g) of the Act:
(Title of Class)
Indicate by check mark if the registrant is a well-known seasoned issuer, as defined in Rule 405 of the Securities Act.
Yes þ No o
Indicate by check mark if the registrant is not required to file reports pursuant to Section 13 or Section 15(d) of the Act.
Yes o No þ
Indicate by check mark whether the registrant (1) has filed all reports required to be filed by Section 13 or 15(d) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 during the preceding 12 months (or for such shorter period that the Registrant was required to file such reports) and (2) has been subject to such filing requirements for the past 90 days. Yes þ No o
Indicate by check mark if disclosure of delinquent filers pursuant to Item 405 of Regulation S-K (§229.405 of this chapter) is not contained herein, and will not be contained, to the best of registrants knowledge, in definitive proxy or information statements incorporated by reference in Part III of this Form 10-K or any amendment to this Form 10-K þ.
Indicate by check mark whether the registrant is a large accelerated filer, an accelerated filer, a non-accelerated filer, or a smaller reporting company. See the definitions of large accelerated filer, accelerated filer and smaller reporting company in Rule 12b-2 of the Exchange Act. (Check one):
Indicate by check mark whether the registrant is a shell company (as defined in Rule 12b-2 of the Act). Yes o No þ
The aggregate market value of the voting stock held by nonaffiliates of the Registrant as of June 29, 2007, was $882,053,215.
The number of shares of Common Stock, $.01 par value, outstanding as of February 20, 2008, was 25,165,162.
Documents incorporated by reference into this Form 10-K:
ARKANSAS BEST CORPORATION
TABLE OF CONTENTS
This Annual Report on Form 10-K contains certain forward-looking statements within the meaning of the federal securities laws. All statements, other than statements of historical fact, included or incorporated by reference in this Form 10-K, including, but not limited to, those under Business in Item 1, Risk Factors in Item 1A, Legal Proceedings in Item 3 and Managements Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations in Item 7, are forward-looking statements. These statements are based on managements belief and assumptions using currently available information and expectations as of the date hereof, are not guarantees of future performance and involve certain risks and uncertainties. Although we believe that the expectations reflected in these forward-looking statements are reasonable, we cannot assure you that our expectations will prove to be correct. Therefore, actual outcomes and results could materially differ from what is expressed, implied or forecast in these statements. Any differences could be caused by a number of factors including, but not limited to:
Cautionary statements identifying important factors that could cause actual results to differ materially from our expectations are set forth in this Form 10-K, including, without limitation, in conjunction with the forward-looking statements included or incorporated by reference in this Form 10-K that are referred to above. When considering forward-looking statements, you should keep in mind the risk factors and other cautionary statements set forth in this Form 10-K in Risk Factors under Item 1A. All forward-looking statements included or incorporated by reference in this Form 10-K and all subsequent written or oral forward-looking statements attributable to us or persons acting on our behalf are expressly qualified in their entirety by the cautionary statements. The forward-looking statements speak only as of the date made and, other than as required by law, we undertake no obligation to publicly update or revise any forward-looking statements, whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise.
ITEM 1. BUSINESS
(a) General Development of Business
Arkansas Best Corporation (the Company), a Delaware corporation, is a holding company engaged through its subsidiaries primarily in motor carrier transportation operations. The principal subsidiary of the Company is ABF Freight System, Inc. (ABF).
The Company was publicly owned from 1966 until 1988, when it was acquired in a leveraged buyout by a corporation organized by Kelso & Company, L.P. (Kelso).
In 1992, the Company completed a public offering of its Common Stock, par value $.01 (the Common Stock). The Company also repurchased substantially all of the remaining shares of Common Stock beneficially owned by Kelso, thus ending Kelsos investment in the Company.
In 1993, the Company completed a public offering of 1,495,000 shares of $2.875 Series A Cumulative Convertible Exchangeable Preferred Stock (Preferred Stock). The Companys Preferred Stock was traded on The Nasdaq National Market (Nasdaq) under the symbol ABFSP. On July 10, 2000, the Company purchased 105,000 shares of its Preferred Stock at $37.375 per share, for a total cost of $3.9 million. All of the shares purchased were retired. On August 13, 2001, the Company announced the call for redemption of the 1,390,000 shares of Preferred Stock that remained outstanding. At the end of the extended redemption period on September 14, 2001, 1,382,650 shares of the Preferred Stock were converted to 3,511,439 shares of Common Stock. The remaining 7,350 shares of Preferred Stock were redeemed at the redemption price of $50.58 per share for a total cost of $0.4 million. The Company delisted its Preferred Stock from trading on Nasdaq on September 12, 2001.
In 1995, pursuant to a tender offer, a wholly owned subsidiary of the Company purchased the outstanding shares of common stock of WorldWay Corporation (WorldWay), at a price of $11 per share. WorldWay was a publicly held company engaged through its subsidiaries in motor carrier operations. The purchase price of WorldWay totaled approximately $76.0 million.
In 1999, the Company acquired 2,457,000 shares of Treadco, Inc. common stock for $23.7 million via a cash tender offer pursuant to a definitive merger agreement. As a result of the transaction, Treadco became a wholly owned subsidiary of the Company. On September 13, 2000, Treadco entered into a joint venture agreement with The Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company (Goodyear) to contribute its business to a new limited liability company called Wingfoot Commercial Tire Systems, LLC (Wingfoot). On April 28, 2003, the Company sold its 19.0% ownership interest in Wingfoot to Goodyear for $71.3 million.
In 2001, the Company sold the stock of G.I. Trucking Company, a wholly owned subsidiary of the Company acquired as part of the WorldWay transaction, for $40.5 million to a company formed by the senior executives of G.I. Trucking Company and Estes Express Lines.
ITEM 1. BUSINESS continued
On December 31, 2003, Clipper Exxpress Company (Clipper), a wholly owned subsidiary of the Company acquired in 1994, sold all customer and vendor lists related to Clippers less-than-truckload (LTL) freight business to Hercules Forwarding, Inc. of Vernon, California, for $2.7 million. With this sale, Clipper exited the LTL business.
On June 15, 2006, the Company sold Clipper to a division of Wheels Group for $21.5 million. With this sale, the Company exited the intermodal transportation business. (See Note R to the consolidated financial statements in the Companys 2007 Annual Report to Stockholders, incorporated herein by reference).
(b) Financial Information about Industry Segments
The response to this portion of Item 1 is included in Note K to the consolidated financial statements in the Companys 2007 Annual Report to Stockholders, and is incorporated herein by reference.
(c) Narrative Description of Business
The Company has one reportable operating segment ABF. Note K to the consolidated financial statements in the Companys 2007 Annual Report to Stockholders contains additional information regarding the Companys operating segment for the year ended December 31, 2007, and is incorporated herein by reference.
At December 31, 2007, the Company and its subsidiaries had a total of 11,895 active employees of which approximately 73% are members of labor unions.
Motor Carrier Operations
Less-Than-Truckload Motor Carrier Operations
The Companys LTL motor carrier operations are conducted through ABF; ABF Freight System (B.C.), Ltd.; ABF Freight System Canada, Ltd.; ABF Cartage, Inc.; and Land-Marine Cargo, Inc. (collectively ABF).
LTL carriers service shipping customers by transporting a wide variety of large and small shipments to geographically dispersed destinations. Typically, shipments are picked up at customers places of business and consolidated at a local terminal. Shipments are consolidated by destination for transportation by intercity units to their destination cities or to distribution centers. At distribution centers, shipments from various terminals can be reconsolidated for other distribution centers or, more typically, local terminals. Once delivered to a local terminal, a shipment is delivered to the customer by local trucks operating from the terminal. In some cases, when one large shipment or a sufficient number of different shipments at one origin terminal are going to a common destination, they can be combined to make a full trailer load. A trailer is then dispatched to that destination without rehandling. In addition to the traditional long-haul model, the Company has implemented a regional network to facilitate its customers next-day and second-day delivery needs. Development and expansion of the regional network required added labor flexibility, strategically positioned freight exchange points and increased door capacity at a number of key locations. Through a multi-phased program, ABFs regional network now covers the eastern two-thirds of the United States. Marketing of the regional initiative known as the Regional Performance Model (RPM) was initiated in August 2006 in the East Coast
ITEM 1. BUSINESS continued
states and in January 2007 in the South and Central regions. ABF expects to expand the RPM initiative to the remaining western region of the country in late 2008.
Competition, Pricing and Industry Factors
The trucking industry is highly competitive. The Companys LTL motor carrier subsidiaries actively compete for freight business with other national, regional and local motor carriers and, to a lesser extent, with private carriage, freight forwarders, railroads and airlines. Competition is based primarily on personal relationships, price and service. Competition for freight revenue, however, has resulted in discounting which effectively reduces prices paid by shippers. In an effort to maintain and improve its market share, the Companys LTL motor carrier subsidiaries offer and negotiate various discounts. ABF charges a fuel surcharge based upon changes in diesel fuel prices compared to a national index.
The trucking industry, including the Companys LTL motor carrier subsidiaries, is directly affected by the state of the residential and commercial construction, manufacturing and retail sectors of the North American economy. The trucking industry faces rising costs including government regulations on safety, equipment design and maintenance, driver utilization and fuel economy. The trucking industry is dependent upon the availability of adequate fuel supplies. The Company has not experienced a lack of available fuel but could be adversely impacted if a fuel shortage were to develop. In addition, seasonal fluctuations also affect tonnage to be transported. Freight shipments, operating costs and earnings also are affected adversely by inclement weather conditions.
ABF competes with nonunion and union LTL carriers. Competitors include YRC National Transportation and YRC Regional Transportation, (operated by YRC Worldwide, Inc.); FedEx Freight and FedEx National LTL (operated by FedEx Corporation); UPS Freight (operated by UPS, Inc.); Con-way, Inc.; Old Dominion Freight Line, Inc.; Saia, Inc. and Vitran Corporation, Inc.
In April 2003, the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) announced rules regulating driving time for commercial truck drivers. The rules, which were implemented in January 2004, allow a driver to be on duty for 14 hours and drive for 11 hours during that tour of duty and require a 10-hour rest period before driving. The rules also provide for a restart provision, which states that a driver cannot drive after being on duty for 70 hours in 8 days, but if the driver has 34 consecutive hours off duty for any reason, the driver restarts at zero hours. These rules have been challenged in federal court, and future modifications to the rules, if any, may impact ABFs operating practices. The operational impact of these rules on ABFs over-the-road linehaul relay network has been to provide modest opportunity to increase driver and equipment utilization and improve transit times. The rules also have allowed LTL carriers, such as ABF, to adjust their over-the-road linehaul relay network to take advantage of the 11 hours of drive time during a tour of duty. Impacts on the truckload industry have included a decline in driver utilization and flexibility and, as a result, truckload carriers have increased charges for stop-off and detention services, making LTL carriers somewhat more competitive on many larger shipments.
ITEM 1. BUSINESS continued
Insurance, Safety and Security
Generally, claims exposure in the motor carrier industry consists of cargo loss and damage, third-party casualty and workers compensation. The Companys motor carrier subsidiaries are effectively self-insured for the first $1.0 million of each cargo loss, $1.0 million of each workers compensation loss and generally $1.0 million of each third-party casualty loss. The Company maintains insurance which it believes is adequate to cover losses in excess of such self-insured amounts. However, the Company has experienced situations where excess insurance carriers have become insolvent (see Note P to the consolidated financial statements in the Companys 2007 Annual Report to Stockholders incorporated herein by reference). The Company pays assessments and fees to state guaranty funds in states where it has workers compensation self-insurance authority. In some of these states, depending on each states rules, the guaranty funds may pay excess claims if the insurer cannot due to insolvency. However, there can be no certainty of the solvency of individual state guaranty funds (see Note P to the consolidated financial statements in the Companys 2007 Annual Report to Stockholders incorporated herein by reference). The Company has been able to obtain what it believes to be adequate coverage for 2008 and is not aware of problems in the foreseeable future which would significantly impair its ability to obtain adequate coverage at market rates for its motor carrier operations.
Since 2001, ABF has been subject to cargo security and transportation regulations issued by the Transportation Security Administration. Since 2002, ABF has been subject to regulations issued by the Department of Homeland Security. ABF is not able to accurately predict how past or future events will affect government regulations and the transportation industry. ABF believes that any additional security measures that may be required by future regulations could result in additional costs; however, other carriers would be similarly affected.
ABF Freight System, Inc.
Headquartered in Fort Smith, Arkansas, ABF is the largest subsidiary of the Company. ABF accounted for 96.4% of the Companys consolidated revenues for 2007. ABF is one of North Americas largest LTL motor carriers and provides direct service to over 97% of the cities in the United States having a population of 25,000 or more. ABF provides interstate and intrastate direct service to more than 42,000 communities through 289 service centers in all 50 states, Canada and Puerto Rico. Through relationships with trucking companies in Mexico, ABF provides motor carrier services to customers in that country as well. ABF has been in continuous service since 1923. ABF was incorporated in Delaware in 1982 and is the successor to Arkansas Motor Freight, a business originally organized in 1935. Arkansas Motor Freight was the successor to a business originally organized in 1923.
ABF offers national, inter-regional and regional transportation of general commodities through standard, expedited and guaranteed LTL services. General commodities include all freight except hazardous waste, dangerous explosives, commodities of exceptionally high value and commodities in bulk. ABFs shipments of general commodities differ from shipments of bulk raw materials, which are commonly transported by railroad, truckload tank car, pipeline and water carrier.
General commodities transported by ABF include, among other things, food, textiles, apparel, furniture, appliances, chemicals, nonbulk petroleum products, rubber, plastics, metal and metal products, wood, glass, automotive parts, machinery and miscellaneous manufactured products. During the year ended December 31, 2007, no single customer accounted for more than 3.0% of ABFs revenues, and the ten largest customers accounted for 8.7% of ABFs revenues.
ITEM 1. BUSINESS continued
At December 31, 2007, ABF had a total of 11,430 active employees. Employee compensation and related costs are the largest components of ABFs operating expenses. In 2007, such costs amounted to 60.5% of ABFs revenues. Approximately 76% of ABFs employees are covered under a collective bargaining agreement with the International Brotherhood of Teamsters (IBT). ABFs current five-year agreement with the IBT expires on March 31, 2008. During February 2008, the Company announced that the IBT has ratified a new five-year collective bargaining agreement with the Company. The new agreement, which will be effective April 1, 2008, provides for compounded annual contractual wage and benefit increases of 3.8%, subject to wage rate cost-of-living adjustments. Under the terms of the collective bargaining agreement, ABF is required to contribute to various multiemployer pension plans maintained for the benefit of its employees who are members of the IBT. Amendments to the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 (ERISA), pursuant to the Multiemployer Pension Plan Amendments Act of 1980 (the MPPA Act), substantially expanded the potential liabilities of employers who participate in such plans. Under ERISA, as amended by the MPPA Act, an employer who contributes to a multiemployer pension plan and the members of such employers controlled group are jointly and severally liable for their proportionate share of the plans unfunded vested liabilities in the event the employer ceases to have an obligation to contribute to the plan or substantially reduces its contributions to the plan (i.e., in the event of plan termination or withdrawal by the Company from the multiemployer plans). See Note J to the consolidated financial statements in the Companys 2007 Annual Report to Stockholders incorporated herein by reference, for more specific disclosures regarding the multiemployer plans.
Three of the largest LTL carriers are unionized and generally pay comparable amounts for wages and benefits. Union companies typically have comparable wage costs and significantly higher fringe benefit costs than non-union companies. The Company believes that union companies also experience lower employee turnover and higher productivity compared to some nonunion firms. Due to its national reputation, its working conditions and its wages and benefits, ABF has not historically experienced any significant long-term difficulty in attracting or retaining qualified employees, although short-term difficulties have been encountered in certain situations.
Environmental and Other Government Regulations
The Company is subject to federal, state and local environmental laws and regulations relating to, among other things, contingency planning for spills of petroleum products and its disposal of waste oil. In addition, the Company is subject to regulations dealing with underground fuel storage tanks. The Companys subsidiaries store fuel for use in tractors and trucks in 71 underground tanks located in 23 states. Maintenance of such tanks is regulated at the federal and, in some cases, state levels. The Company believes that it is in substantial compliance with all such regulations. The Companys underground storage tanks are required to have leak detection systems. The Company is not aware of any leaks from such tanks that could reasonably be expected to have a material adverse effect on the Company.
The Company has received notices from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and others that it has been identified as a potentially responsible party under the Comprehensive Environmental Response Compensation and Liability Act, or other federal or state environmental statutes, at several hazardous waste sites. After investigating the Companys or its subsidiaries involvement in waste disposal or waste generation at such sites, the Company has either agreed to de minimis settlements (aggregating approximately $103,000 over the last ten years primarily at seven sites) or believes its obligations, other than those specifically accrued for with respect to such sites, would involve immaterial monetary liability, although there can be no assurances in this regard.
ITEM 1. BUSINESS continued
At December 31, 2007 and 2006, the Companys reserve for estimated environmental clean-up costs of properties currently or previously operated by the Company totaled $1.1 million and $1.2 million, respectively, which is included in accrued expenses in the accompanying consolidated balance sheets. Amounts accrued reflect managements best estimate of the Companys future undiscounted exposure related to identified properties based on current environmental regulations. It is anticipated that the resolution of the Companys environmental matters could take place over several years. The Companys estimate is based on managements experience with similar environmental matters and on testing performed at certain sites.
Discontinued Operations Intermodal Operations
The Companys intermodal transportation operations were conducted through Clipper. On June 15, 2006, Clipper was sold and has been reported as discontinued operations in the accompanying consolidated financial statements.
(d) Financial Information About Geographic Areas
Classifications of operations or revenues by geographic location beyond the descriptions previously provided are impractical and therefore are not provided. The Companys foreign operations are not significant.
(e) Available Information
The Company files its Annual Reports on Form 10-K, Quarterly Reports on Form 10-Q, Current Reports on Form 8-K, amendments to those reports, proxy and information statements and other information electronically with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). All reports and financial information filed with the SEC can be obtained, free of charge, through the Companys Web site located at arkbest.com or through the SEC Web site located at sec.gov as soon as reasonably practical after such material is electronically filed with the SEC. The information contained on our Web site does not constitute part of this Annual Report on Form 10-K.
ITEM 1A. RISK FACTORS
Each of the following risk factors could adversely affect our business, operating results and financial condition. Our operations include our primary operating subsidiary, ABF. For 2007, ABF represented 96.4% of the Companys consolidated revenues.
The transportation industry is affected by business risks that are largely out of our control, any of which could significantly reduce our operating margins and income.
The factors that could have a negative impact on our performance in the future include general economic factors; loss of key employees; antiterrorism measures; an increasingly competitive freight rate environment; volatile fuel prices and the inability to collect fuel surcharges or obtain sufficient fuel supplies; loss of third-party rail service providers; increasing capital requirements; increases in new equipment costs and decreases in the amount we are able to obtain for sales of our used equipment; emissions-control regulations; decreases in the availability of new equipment; increases in the frequency and/or the severity of workers compensation and/or third-party casualty claims; increases in workers compensation and/or third-party casualty insurance premiums; violation of federal regulations and increasing costs for compliance with regulations; a workforce stoppage by our employees covered under our collective bargaining agreement; difficulty in attracting and retaining qualified drivers and/or dockworkers; increases in the required contributions under our collective bargaining agreements with the IBT for wage contributions and/or benefits contributions to multiemployer plans; a failure of our information systems; a violation of an environmental law or regulation; and/or weather or seasonal fluctuations.
We are subject to general economic factors that are largely beyond our control, any of which could significantly reduce our operating margins and income.
Our performance is affected by recessionary economic cycles and downturns in customers business cycles and changes in their business practices. Economic conditions could adversely affect our customers business levels, the amount of transportation services they need and their ability to pay for our services. Customers encountering adverse economic conditions represent a greater potential for uncollectible accounts receivable, and, as a result, we may be required to increase our allowances for uncollectible accounts receivable. In addition, customers could reduce the number of carriers they use by selecting so-called core carriers as approved transportation service providers, and in some instances, we may not be selected.
It is not possible to predict the effects of armed conflicts or terrorist attacks and subsequent events on the economy or on consumer confidence in the United States, or the impact, if any, on our future results of operations or financial condition.
Our management team is an important part of our business and loss of key employees could impair our success.
We benefit from the leadership and experience of our senior management team and depend on their continued services to successfully implement our business strategy. The unexpected loss of key employees could have an adverse effect on our operations and profitability. We continue to develop and retain a core group of officers and managers although future retention cannot be assured.
Our business could be harmed by antiterrorism measures.
Since the terrorist attacks on the United States, federal, state and municipal authorities have implemented and are implementing various security measures, including checkpoints and travel restrictions on large trucks. Although many companies will be adversely affected by any slowdown in the availability of freight transportation, the negative impact could affect our business disproportionately. For example, we offer specialized services that guarantee on-time delivery. If the new security measures disrupt the timing of deliveries, we could fail to meet the needs of our customers or could incur increased costs in order to do so.
We operate in a highly competitive industry and our business could suffer if our operating subsidiaries were unable to adequately address downward pricing pressures and other factors that could adversely affect their ability to compete with other companies.
Numerous competitive factors could impair our ability to maintain our current profitability. These factors include:
Our new service and growth initiatives may not be accepted by our customers.
Our continuing development of more second-day service lanes, overnight lanes and same-day service will require ongoing investment in personnel and infrastructure. In addition, the level of revenues expected to be generated from these service initiatives may be impacted by actions of our competitors and by general economic conditions. Depending on the timing and level of revenues generated from these service initiatives, our results of operations and cash flows may be negatively impacted.
We depend heavily on the availability of fuel for our trucks. Fuel shortages, increases in fuel costs and the inability to collect fuel surcharges or obtain sufficient fuel supplies could have a material adverse effect on our operating results.
The transportation industry is dependent upon the availability of adequate fuel supplies. We have not experienced a lack of available fuel but could be adversely impacted if a fuel shortage were to develop. Fuel prices have fluctuated significantly in recent years. ABF charges a fuel surcharge based on changes in diesel fuel prices compared to a national index. The ABF fuel surcharge rate in effect is available on the ABF Web site at abf.com. Although revenues from fuel surcharges generally more than offset increases in direct diesel fuel costs; other operating costs have been, and may continue to be, impacted by fluctuating fuel prices. The total impact of higher energy prices on other nonfuel-related expenses is difficult to ascertain. ABF cannot predict, with reasonable certainty, future fuel price fluctuations, the impact of higher energy prices on other cost elements, recoverability of higher fuel costs through fuel surcharges, the effect of fuel surcharges on ABFs overall rate structure or the total price that ABF will receive from its customers. During periods of changing diesel fuel prices, the fuel
surcharge and associated direct diesel fuel costs also vary by different degrees. Depending upon the rates of these changes and the impact on costs in other fuel- and energy-related areas, operating margins could be impacted. During 2007, the fuel surcharge mechanism continued to have strong market acceptance among ABF customers. Whether fuel prices fluctuate or remain constant, ABFs operating income may be adversely affected if competitive pressures limit its ability to recover fuel surcharges. ABFs ability to recover future fuel surcharges may be affected as a result. However, lower fuel surcharge levels may over time improve ABFs ability to increase other elements of margin although there can be no assurances in this regard. While the fuel surcharge is one of several components in ABFs overall rate structure, the actual rate paid by customers is governed by market forces based on value provided to the customer.
We do not have any long-term fuel purchase contracts and have not entered into any hedging arrangements to protect against fuel price increases. Significant changes in diesel fuel prices and the associated fuel surcharge may increase volatility in our reported revenues. Volatile fuel prices will continue to impact our results of operations.
We depend on transportation provided by rail services and a disruption of this service could adversely affect our operations.
In 2007, ABFs rail utilization was 12.7% of total miles. If a disruption in transportation services from the rail service providers occurred, we could be faced with business interruptions that could cause us to fail to meet the needs of our customers. If these situations occurred, our results of operations and cash flows could be adversely impacted.
We have significant ongoing capital requirements that could affect profitability if we were unable to generate sufficient cash from operations.
We have significant ongoing capital requirements. If we were not able to generate sufficient cash from operations in the future, our growth could be limited, we could have to utilize our existing financing arrangements to a greater extent or enter into additional leasing arrangements, or our revenue equipment may have to be held for longer periods, which would result in increased maintenance costs. If these situations occurred, there could be an adverse effect on our profitability.
Increased prices for new revenue equipment and decreases in the value of used revenue equipment could adversely affect our earnings and cash flows.
Manufacturers have raised the prices of new equipment significantly, in part, to offset their costs of compliance with new EPA tractor engine design requirements intended to reduce emissions. Following requirements that were put into place in 2002, new EPA engine design requirements became effective on January 1, 2007. More restrictive EPA emission-control design requirements will take effect in 2010. Further equipment price increases may result from these requirements. If new equipment prices increase more than anticipated, we could incur higher depreciation and rental expenses than anticipated. If we were unable to offset any such increases in expenses with freight rate increases, our results of operations could be adversely affected. If the market value of revenue equipment being used in our operations were to decrease, we could incur impairment losses and our cash flows could be adversely affected.
The engines used in our newer tractors are subject to new emissions-control regulations, which could substantially increase operating expenses.
Tractor engines that comply with the EPA emission-control design requirements that took effect on January 1, 2007 are generally less fuel-efficient and have increased maintenance costs compared to engines in tractors manufactured before these requirements became effective. In addition, compliance with the more stringent EPA requirements that are scheduled to be effective in 2010 could result in further declines in fuel efficiency and increases in maintenance costs. If we are unable to offset resulting increases in fuel expenses or maintenance costs with higher freight rates, our results of operations could be adversely affected.
Decreases in the availability of new tractors and trailers could have a material adverse effect on our operating results.
From time to time, some tractor and trailer vendors have reduced their manufacturing output due, for example, to lower demand for their products in economic downturns or a shortage of component parts. As conditions changed, some of those vendors have had difficulty fulfilling increased demand for new equipment. Also, vendors must meet the EPA emission-control design requirements that took effect on January 1, 2007 and those that are scheduled to be effective in 2010. Some carriers may seek to purchase large numbers of tractors with pre-2010 engines, which could lead to tractor shortages. An inability to continue to obtain an adequate supply of new tractors or trailers could have a material adverse effect on our results of operations and financial condition.
We operate in a highly regulated industry and costs of compliance with, or liability for violations of, existing or future regulations could have a material adverse effect on our operating results.
Various federal and state agencies exercise broad regulatory powers over the transportation business, generally governing such activities as authorization to engage in motor carrier operations, safety, insurance requirements and financial reporting. We could also become subject to new or more restrictive regulations, such as regulations relating to fuel emissions, drivers hours of service or ergonomics. Compliance with such regulations could substantially reduce equipment productivity, and the costs of compliance could increase our operating expenses.
In April 2003, the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) announced rules regulating driving time for commercial truck drivers. The rules, which were implemented in January 2004, have had a minimal impact upon our operations. However, future changes in these rules could materially and adversely affect our operating efficiency and increase costs.
Our drivers and dockworkers also must comply with the safety and fitness regulations promulgated by the DOT, including those relating to drug and alcohol testing and hours of service. The Transportation Security Administration of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security has adopted regulations that will require all drivers who carry hazardous materials to undergo background checks by the Federal Bureau of Investigation when they obtain or renew their licenses.
Failures to comply with DOT safety regulations or downgrades in our safety rating could have a material adverse impact on our operations or financial condition. A downgrade in our safety rating could cause us to lose the ability to self-insure. The loss of our ability to self-insure for any significant period of time could materially increase insurance costs. In addition, we could experience difficulty in obtaining adequate levels of coverage in that event.
Increases in license and registration fees could also have an adverse effect on our operating results.
Ongoing claims expenses could have a material adverse effect on our operating results.
Our self-insurance retention levels are currently $1.0 million for each workers compensation loss, $1.0 million for each cargo loss and generally $1.0 million for each third-party casualty loss. For medical benefits, we currently self-insure up to $175,000 per person, per claim year. We maintain insurance for liabilities above the amounts of self-insurance to certain limits. If the frequency and/or severity of claims increase, our operating results could be adversely affected. The timing of the incurrence of these costs could significantly and adversely impact our operating results compared to prior periods. In addition, if we were to lose our ability to self-insure for any significant period of time, insurance costs could materially increase and we could experience difficulty in obtaining adequate levels of insurance coverage in that event.
Increased insurance premium costs could have an adverse effect on our operating results.
In the last several years, insurance carriers have increased premiums for many companies, including transportation companies. Although our recent insurance renewals did not result in significant changes in premiums, we could experience additional increases in our insurance premiums in the future. If our insurance or claims expenses increase and we were unable to offset the increase with higher freight rates, our earnings could be adversely affected.
We depend on our employees to support our operating business and future growth opportunities. If our relationship with our employees were to deteriorate, we could be faced with labor disruptions or stoppages, which could have a material adverse affect on our business and reduce our operating results and place us at a disadvantage relative to nonunion competitors.
Most of ABFs union employees are covered under a five-year collective bargaining agreement with the IBT which expires on March 31, 2008. During February 2008, the Company announced that the IBT has ratified a new five-year collective bargaining agreement. The new agreement, which will be effective April 1, 2008, provides for compounded annual contractual wage and benefit increases of 3.8%, subject to wage rate cost-of-living adjustments.
We compete against both union and nonunion LTL carriers. Union companies typically have somewhat higher wage costs and significantly higher fringe benefit costs than nonunion companies. Union companies typically experience lower employee turnover and higher productivity compared to some nonunion companies. Due to our national reputation, working conditions, and wages and benefits, we have not historically experienced any significant long-term difficulty in attracting or retaining qualified drivers, although short-term difficulties have been encountered in certain situations, such as periods of significant increases in tonnage levels. Difficulty in attracting and retaining qualified drivers or increases in compensation or fringe benefit costs could affect our profitability and our ability to grow. If we were unable to continue to attract and retain qualified drivers, we could incur higher driver recruiting expenses or a loss of business.
We could be obligated to make additional contributions to multiemployer pension plans.
Under the provisions of the Taft-Hartley Act, retirement and health care benefits for ABFs contractual employees are provided by a number of multiemployer plans. The trust funds for these plans are administered by trustees, an equal number of whom generally are appointed by the IBT and certain management carrier organizations or other appointing authorities for employer trustees as set forth in the funds trust agreements. ABF is not directly involved in the administration of the trust funds. ABF contributes to these plans monthly based on the time worked by its contractual employees, as specified in the collective bargaining agreement and other supporting supplemental agreements. No amounts are required to be paid beyond ABFs monthly contractual obligations based on the time worked by its employees, except as discussed below. Approximately 50% of our contributions are made to the Central States Southeast and Southwest Area Pension Fund (Central States Pension Fund). We recognize as expense the contractually required contribution for the period and recognize as a liability any contributions due and unpaid. We intend to meet our obligations to the multiemployer pension plans under our collective bargaining agreement with the IBT.
In the event of the termination of a multiemployer pension plan or if we withdraw from a multiemployer pension plan, we would have liabilities for our share of the unfunded vested liabilities of such plan. ABF has no current intention of withdrawing from any multiemployer pension plan. Based on December 31, 2006, multiemployer pension plan information which is the most recently available information, the estimate of ABFs contingent withdrawal liabilities for these plans is approximately $800 million to $850 million, on a pre-tax basis. Though the best information available to us was used in computing this estimate, it is calculated with numerous assumptions, changes periodically and has not been verified by us or our independent pension counsel.
In 2006, the Pension Protection Act (the PPA) became law and together with related regulations established certain minimum funding requirements for multiemployer pension plans. The PPA mandates that multiemployer plans that are below certain funding levels or that have projected funding deficiencies adopt a funding improvement plan or a rehabilitation program to improve the funding levels over a defined period of time. The Act also accelerates the timing of annual funding notices and requires additional disclosures from certain multiemployer plans. Under the PPA, the funding status of such plans is determined by a number of factors including: investment returns, changes in member benefits, the number of participating employees, the number of employers who contribute and their related contractual contributions and the number of employees or retirees participating in the plan who no longer have a contributing employer. If any multiemployer pension plan fails to: (i) meet minimum funding requirements; (ii) meet a required funding improvement or rehabilitation plan required by the PPA for underfunded plans; (iii) obtain from the IRS certain changes to or waivers of the requirements used by a particular plan to calculate funding levels; or, (iv) reduce pension benefits to a level where the requirements are met, the PPA could impose additional contribution requirements on ABF in the form of a surcharge of an additional five to ten percent. However, under our new five-year collective bargaining agreement with the IBT, which will be effective April 1, 2008, any surcharges required by the Act will be included in the contractual contribution rate and should not increase ABFs overall contribution obligation.
In July 2007, the Teamsters National Freight Industry Negotiating Committee for the Central States Pension Fund Supplemental Agreement reallocated $0.40 per hour of a previously negotiated $0.70 per hour rate increase for health and welfare to the Central States Pension Fund. This reallocation will have a positive effect on the funded status of the Central States Pension Fund. In addition, as a result of a withdrawal by a large contributing employer, the Central States Pension Fund received $6.1 billion in cash in December 2007, which should have a positive effect on its near-term funded status.
Despite these events, based on currently available information, we believe that the Central States Pension Fund and a number of other plans in which ABF participates will have to adopt either a funding improvement plan or a rehabilitation program depending on their current funding status as required by the PPA. However, the funding levels of these multiemployer plans in 2008 could vary from the December 31, 2006 funded status.
As previously mentioned, the highly competitive industry in which we operate could impact the viability of contributing employers. Any one or combination of these items, which are outside our control, has the potential to affect the funding status of these plans, potential withdrawal liabilities and our future contribution requirements.
Our information technology systems are subject to certain risks that are beyond our control.
We depend on the proper functioning and availability of our information systems in operating our business. These systems include our communications and data processing systems. Our information systems are protected through physical and software safeguards. However, they are still vulnerable to fire, storm, flood, power loss, telecommunications failures, physical or software break-ins and similar events. We have a catastrophic disaster recovery plan and alternate processing capability, which is designed so that critical data processes should be fully operational within 48 hours. We have business interruption insurance, including, in certain circumstances, insurance against terrorist attacks under the federal Terrorism Risk Insurance Act of 2002, which would offset
losses up to certain coverage limits in the event of a catastrophe. However, a significant system failure, security breach, disruption by a virus or other damage could still interrupt or delay our operations, damage our reputation and cause a loss of customers.
Our operations are subject to various environmental laws and regulations, the violation of which could result in substantial fines or penalties.
We are subject to various environmental laws and regulations dealing with the handling of hazardous materials and similar matters. We operate in industrial areas where truck terminals and other industrial activities are located and where groundwater or other forms of environmental contamination could occur. We also store fuel in underground tanks at some facilities. Our operations involve the risks of fuel spillage or leakage, environmental damage and hazardous waste disposal, among others. If we were involved in a spill or other accident involving hazardous substances, or if we were found to be in violation of applicable laws or regulations, it could have a material adverse effect on our business and operating results. If we should fail to comply with applicable environmental regulations, we could be subject to substantial fines or penalties and to civil and criminal liability.
Our results of operations can be impacted by seasonal fluctuations or adverse weather conditions.
We can be impacted by seasonal fluctuations which affect tonnage and shipment levels. Freight shipments, operating costs and earnings can also be affected adversely by inclement weather conditions.
We are also subject to risks and uncertainties that affect many other businesses, including:
Any liability resulting from and the cost of defending against class-action litigation, such as alleged violations of anti-trust laws, wage-and-hour and discrimination claims, and any other legal proceedings;
Widespread outbreak of an illness, such as avian influenza (bird flu), severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) or any other communicable disease, or any other public health crisis; and
Operational or market disruptions arising from natural calamities, such as hurricanes, and from illegal acts including terrorist attacks.
Our results of operations and financial condition could be adversely affected by an unfavorable outcome resulting from these risks and uncertainties.
ITEM 1B. UNRESOLVED STAFF COMMENTS
ITEM 2. PROPERTIES
The Company owns its executive office building in Fort Smith, Arkansas, which contains approximately 189,000 square feet.
ABF currently operates out of 279 terminal facilities and 10 distribution centers. ABF owns 121 of these facilities and leases the remainder from non-affiliates. ABFs distribution centers are as follows:
ITEM 3. LEGAL PROCEEDINGS
Various legal actions, the majority of which arise in the normal course of business, are pending. None of these legal actions are expected to have a material adverse effect on the Companys financial condition, cash flows or results of operations. The Company maintains insurance against certain risks arising out of the normal course of its business, subject to certain self-insured retention limits. The Company has accruals for certain legal and environmental exposures.
On July 30, 2007, Farm Water Technological Services, Inc., d/b/a Water Tech, and C.B.J.T., d/b/a Agricultural Supply, on behalf of themselves and other plaintiffs, filed a putative class action lawsuit against the Company and eleven other companies engaged in the LTL trucking business in the United States District Court for the Southern District of California. This lawsuit alleges that the carriers violated U.S. antitrust laws regarding fuel surcharges and seeks unspecified treble damages allegedly sustained by class members, along with injunctive relief, attorneys fees and costs of litigation. After the original suit was filed, other plaintiffs filed similar cases in various courts across the country. Several of the parties, including the Company, initiated proceedings with the United States Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation (JPML) seeking to have the cases consolidated and transferred to a single District Court for pretrial proceedings. On December 20, 2007, the United States JPML entered an order centralizing and transferring the pending lawsuits for pretrial proceedings to the United States District Court for the Northern District of Georgia. This class action litigation is in a preliminary stage and the Company cannot predict its outcome, as the litigation process is inherently uncertain. If an adverse outcome were to occur, it could have a material adverse effect on the Companys consolidated financial condition, cash flows and results of operations. However, the Company believes that the allegations in this litigation are without merit and intends to contest such allegations and defend itself vigorously.
ITEM 4. SUBMISSION OF MATTERS TO A VOTE OF SECURITY HOLDERS
No matters were submitted to a vote of stockholders during the fourth quarter ended December 31, 2007.
ITEM 5. MARKET FOR REGISTRANTS COMMON EQUITY, RELATED STOCKHOLDER MATTERS AND ISSUER PURCHASES OF EQUITY SECURITIES
The information set forth under the caption Market for Registrants Common Equity, Related Stockholder Matters and Issuer Purchases of Equity Securities, appearing in the Companys 2007 Annual Report to Stockholders is incorporated herein by reference.
ITEM 6. SELECTED FINANCIAL DATA
The information set forth under the caption Selected Financial Data, appearing in the Companys 2007 Annual Report to Stockholders is incorporated herein by reference.
ITEM 7. MANAGEMENTS DISCUSSION AND ANALYSIS OF FINANCIAL CONDITION AND RESULTS OF OPERATIONS
The information set forth under the caption Managements Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations, appearing in the Companys 2007 Annual Report to Stockholders is incorporated herein by reference.
ITEM 7A. QUANTITATIVE AND QUALITATIVE DISCLOSURES ABOUT MARKET RISK
The information set forth under the caption Quantitative and Qualitative Disclosures About Market Risk, appearing in the Companys 2007 Annual Report to Stockholders is incorporated herein by reference.
ITEM 8. FINANCIAL STATEMENTS AND SUPPLEMENTARY DATA
The report of the independent registered public accounting firm and the Companys consolidated financial statements, including the notes thereto, appearing in the Companys 2007 Annual Report to Stockholders are incorporated herein by reference.
ITEM 9. CHANGES IN AND DISAGREEMENTS WITH ACCOUNTANTS ON ACCOUNTING AND FINANCIAL DISCLOSURE
ITEM 9A. CONTROLS AND PROCEDURES
An evaluation was performed by the Companys management, including the Companys CEO and CFO, of the effectiveness of the design and operation of the Companys disclosure controls and procedures (as such term is defined in Rules 13a-15(e) and 15d-15(e) under the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended (the Exchange Act)) as of December 31, 2007. Based on such evaluation, the Companys CEO and CFO have concluded that the Companys disclosure controls and procedures were effective as of December 31, 2007.
There have been no changes in the Companys internal control over financial reporting (as such term is defined in Rules 13a-15(f) and 15d-15(f) under the Exchange Act) during the quarter ended December 31, 2007 that have materially affected, or are reasonably likely to materially affect, the Companys internal control over financial reporting.
Managements assessment of internal control over financial reporting and the report of the independent registered public accounting firm, appearing in the Companys 2007 Annual Report to Stockholders are incorporated herein by reference.
ITEM 9B. OTHER INFORMATION
ITEM 10. DIRECTORS AND EXECUTIVE OFFICERS OF THE REGISTRANT
The sections entitled Election of Directors, Directors of the Company, Board of Directors and Committees, Executive Officers of the Company, General Matters and Section 16(a) Beneficial Ownership Reporting Compliance contained in the Companys Definitive Proxy Statement to be filed pursuant to Regulation 14A of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 in connection with the Companys Annual Stockholders Meeting to be held April 22, 2008, are incorporated herein by reference.
ITEM 11. EXECUTIVE COMPENSATION
The sections entitled Compensation Discussion and Analysis, Summary Compensation Table, Grants of Plan-Based Awards, Outstanding Equity Awards at Fiscal Year-End, Option Exercises and Stock Vested, Pension Benefits, Non-Qualified Deferred Compensation, Compensation Committee Interlocks and Insider Participation, Potential Payments Upon Termination or Change-in-Control, 2007 Director Compensation Table, and Compensation Committee Report contained in the Companys Definitive Proxy Statement to be filed pursuant to Regulation 14A of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 in connection with the Companys Annual Stockholders Meeting to be held April 22, 2008, are incorporated herein by reference.
ITEM 12. SECURITY OWNERSHIP OF CERTAIN BENEFICIAL OWNERS AND MANAGEMENT AND RELATED STOCKHOLDER MATTERS
The sections entitled Principal Stockholders and Management Ownership and Equity Compensation Plan Information contained in the Companys Definitive Proxy Statement to be filed pursuant to Regulation 14A of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 in connection with the Companys Annual Stockholders Meeting to be held April 22, 2008, are incorporated herein by reference.
ITEM 13. CERTAIN RELATIONSHIPS AND RELATED TRANSACTIONS
The section entitled Certain Transactions and Relationships contained in the Companys Definitive Proxy Statement to be filed pursuant to Regulation 14A of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 in connection with the Companys Annual Stockholders Meeting to be held April 22, 2008, is incorporated herein by reference.
ITEM 14. PRINCIPAL ACCOUNTANT FEES AND SERVICES
The sections entitled Principal Accountant Fees and Services and Audit Committee Pre-Approval of Audit and Permissible Non-Audit Services of Independent Registered Public Accounting Firm contained in the Companys Definitive Proxy Statement to be filed pursuant to Regulation 14A of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 in connection with the Companys Annual Stockholders Meeting to be held April 22, 2008, are incorporated herein by reference.
ITEM 15. EXHIBITS, FINANCIAL STATEMENT SCHEDULES
(a)(1) Financial Statements
The following information appearing in the Companys 2007 Annual Report to Stockholders is incorporated by reference in this Annual Report on Form 10-K as Exhibit 13:
Market for Registrants Common Equity, Related Stockholder Matters and Issuer Purchases of Equity Securities
Selected Financial Data
Managements Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations
Quantitative and Qualitative Disclosures About Market Risk
The Report of the Independent Registered Public Accounting Firm, Consolidated Financial Statements, including the notes thereto
Controls and Procedures
With the exception of the aforementioned information, the Companys 2007 Annual Report to Stockholders is not deemed filed as part of this report. Schedules other than those listed are omitted for the reason that they are not required or are not applicable. The following additional financial data should be read in conjunction with the consolidated financial statements in such Companys 2007 Annual Report to Stockholders.
(a)(2) Financial Statement Schedules
The exhibits filed with this Annual Report on Form 10-K are listed in the Exhibit Index, which is submitted as a separate section of this report.
See Item 15(a)(3) above.
Pursuant to the requirements of Section 13 or 15(d) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, the registrant has duly caused this report to be signed on its behalf by the undersigned, thereunto duly authorized.
Pursuant to the requirements of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, this report has been signed below by the following persons on behalf of the registrant and in the capacities and on the dates indicated.
VALUATION AND QUALIFYING ACCOUNTS AND RESERVES
ARKANSAS BEST CORPORATION
Note a Recoveries of amounts previously written off.
Note b Uncollectible accounts written off.
Note c Credited to workers compensation expense.
NOTE: All information reflected in the above table excludes valuation allowances of discontinued operations. The consolidated statements of cash flows incorporated by reference include $24,000 in 2006 and $355,000 in 2005 within the provision for losses on accounts receivable related to discontinued operations that are not included in Column C in the above table.
FORM 10-K ITEM 15(a)
ARKANSAS BEST CORPORATION
The following exhibits are filed or furnished with this report or are incorporated by reference to previously filed material:
FORM 10-K ITEM 15(a)
ARKANSAS BEST CORPORATION
FORM 10-K ITEM 15(a)
ARKANSAS BEST CORPORATION
FORM 10-K ITEM 15(a)
ARKANSAS BEST CORPORATION