XPO Looks to Lower Leverage, May Buy Back Debt Early, CFO Says

LTL Giant Repositioning After $870 Million Purchase of Yellow Corp. Assets
XPO trailer
A XPO truck trailer at the company's distribution hub in Barcelona, Spain. (Angel Garcia/Bloomberg News)

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Less-than-truckload carrier XPO Inc. is working to reduce its leverage after it purchased assets from defunct cargo hauler Yellow Corp. and might consider buying back some of its debt at par, its finance chief said.

The Greenwich, Conn.-based company, which offers less-than-truckload freight services, last year agreed to buy 28 service center locations from Yellow following its Chapter 11 bankruptcy filing. XPO in December sold $585 million in junk bonds and a $400 million term loan to pay for the $870 million transaction.

XPO’s leverage ratio, measured by its net debt to trailing 12 months earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization, went up to 3 times after the acquisition, from 2.2 times at the end of the third quarter and 2.1 times at the end of 2022.

Chief Financial Officer Kyle Wismans says that in the long run he wants to get that ratio down to one to two times. “We’ll make material improvements this year from a leverage standpoint as we start generating more income from the existing business but then also bring those service centers online,” Wismans said in an interview, adding that the bulk of the deleveraging will come from EBITDA growth. “It’s generating additional cash,” he said.

The company also could use some of its cash to extinguish debt ahead of its maturity, Wismans said. “We have plenty of prepayable debt at par within the debt stack,” he said. “So if there are ways to address that, we certainly have the ability to do that,” Wismans said. About $1 billion of the company’s debt is prepayable at par, according to Wismans.

XPO ranks No. 5 on the Transport Topics Top 100 list of the largest for-hire carriers in North America and No. 4 on TT’s list of the largest less-than-truckload carriers in North America.

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