ZS Fund Unites Lily Transportation, Transervice
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Lily Transportation will continue to operate independently but will be affiliated with another company owned by the equity firm, Transervice Logistics. The setup is intended to allow the companies to leverage their combined strength while remaining nimble. Transervice CEO Gregg Nierenberg will assume leadership in both companies.
“What’s exciting is that we get to maintain the nimbleness of being these middle-sized companies,” Nierenberg told Transport Topics. “We continue to be nimble and very customer-focused and we’re not going to lose that. That’s really important to us, and it’s one of the reasons why we have such strong customers and customer retention.”
Lily Transportation, based in Needham, Mass., has remained a family business since its founding about six decades ago. CEO John Simourian II is transitioning out of his role with plans to become chairman. Transervice is a transportation and logistics management company based in New Hyde Park, N.Y.
“I have every confidence that Gregg Nierenberg is the right leader to ensure Lily’s continued growth,” Simourian said. “He has been a distinguished leader at some of the largest companies in our industry, and he respects and embraces our proud heritage and the exceptional customers and associates who have made us the great company we are today.”
Nierenberg believes the dual-brand approach will create more opportunities for customers. He noted that management at both companies will continue to be empowered to be flexible to meet the needs of customers.
“The Simourians were looking for estate planning and knew that they had to make a change eventually and so that was a compelling item on their side,” Nierenberg said. “In parallel, ZS, which has had a majority interest in Transervice for over 16 years, has a strong confidence level in our current management team, of which I’ve been a part of for the last couple of years. And while we’ve been growing organically, we thought it would make sense to also look for acquisition opportunities.”
Nierenberg noted that what both companies thrive on is having a point of contact on the executive level directly involved with every customer. He added that is not going to change. But the acquisition also allows the companies to leverage their strengths together.
“Collectively, together, we’re now a more formidable company,” Nierenberg said. “We’re able to continue to grow and compete for even bigger and larger opportunities with prospects that might not have been aware of our two companies, and our combined footprint in North America is over 170 locations. So we now have more opportunity to continue to grow and scale.”
Nierenberg praised the senior management team at Lily Transportation for being strong people with great processes. He also noted that the customers he met feel strongly about the value and performance that the company provides and the technology it brings.
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“My job, quite frankly, is to continue to build upon that to allow the management team to do what they do, take care of our customers,” Nierenberg said. “And as I look to grow, it’s to take the best of both Transervice and Lily and make sure as we go to market that we are aligning new customers, new prospects, with the right company for the right services we provide and allow both companies to thrive in that environment.”
ZS Fund noted in the announcement that the transaction substantially increases the scale of services and resources that both companies bring to the marketplace.
Together, they have more than 2,600 employees including over 1,750 drivers. The increased scale is concentrated in their dedicated contract carriage and freight brokerage services.
“Our investment in Transervice Logistics 16 years ago has been a very successful one due to the company’s ability to provide outstanding service to its customers,” said Bob Horne, managing partner at ZS Fund. “Lily’s experienced and knowledgeable operating executives have exhibited this same customer-centric approach, which is what attracted us to the company, and we look forward to the best practices of each company being shared with the other.”
ZS Fund also assured customers that they can expect business as usual even as both companies unite under one owner. It noted that each will retain its independent corporate name and separate field and management teams. Alex Lafaras, executive vice president and chief financial officer at Transervice, will assume those roles at Lily Transportation.
“Where we see opportunities is the size and scale of the companies to be more competitive from a purchasing-power standpoint with our vendor partners,” Nierenberg said, “hopefully bringing more value to our current customers and new customers by being part of a larger organization. Two organizations together will have more power.”
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