Western, Smithway Delay Merger Closing Date

Credit Crunch Pushes Deal to October
Smithway Motor Xpress Corp.

Western Express, which is planning to purchase Smithway Motor Xpress Corp. said late Thursday it would delay the deal’s closing to October because of recent volatility in U.S. credit markets.

The two truckload carriers have been working to finalize debt financing required to close the acquisition, first announced in March, they said in a joint statement. The deal was scheduled to close in August.

Western said received a revised commitment letter from JP Morgan Chase Bank on Thursday extending the commitment to Oct. 31.

Smithway’s shareholders in June approved the company’s acquisition by Western Express for $10.63 a share. Shares closed Thursday at $10.45, Bloomberg reported. Smithway is primarily a flatbed carrier.

The combined company under the Western Express name is ranked No. 50 in the 2007 Transport Topics 100 listing of U.S. and Canadian for-hire carriers.