New Orleans Operator Expands To State Capital

Posted on May 18, 2011 by LCT Staff - Also by this author - About the author

ABOUT PHOTO: Limousine Livery CEO Christy Dirks recently closed a deal to bring her company’s chauffeured services to Baton Rouge, Louisiana’s second largest city.

COMPANY DEAL: Limousine Livery reaffirms its status as the largest luxury chauffeured fleet operator in New Orleans with its purchase of a small Baton Rouge operation.

NEW ORLEANS, La. — LIMOUSINE LIVERY, an executive chauffeured transportation provider along the Gulf Coast, closed a deal April 29 to buy RIVER PARISH LIMOUSINES of Baton Rouge, La.

Terms of the asset purchase allow LIMOUSINE LIVERY to add River Parish’s eight luxury vehicles to its fleet, for a total count of 76 vehicles serving Louisiana and the Gulf Coast region, said Aaron Dirks, director of business development, in an interview with LCT. Dirks runs the company with his wife, Christy Dirks, who is CEO and President.

The non-brokered deal, valued at just under $200,000, boosts Limousine Livery’s projected 2011 annual revenue stream to just above $10 million, Dirks said. Revenues rose an estimated 200% in 2010, enabling the company to grow to more than 100 Louisiana-based employees.

Both companies will operate under their respective names and web sites for at least six months until River Parish is absorbed. The previous owner and seller of River Parish, Dustin Clouatre, will not be working in the new venture.

The deal secures Limousine Livery’s seamless service between New Orleans and Baton Rouge, benefitting corporate clients in both cities, Dirks said. Of the 76 total vehicles in Limousine Livery’s fleet, 15 to 18 will be based in Baton Rouge. Limousine Livery operates luxury vehicles ranging from Town Car sedans to a 29-passenger mini-bus. The company’s market breakdown is about 70% corporate/business travel and 30% retail/leisure clients.

“We expect the Baton Rouge market for us to now double in next few months,” Dirks said. “We bought a mostly retail business and are layering our corporate transportation and contract work on top of a retail business. There will be a lot of growth opportunities.”

The purchase originated from a strong affiliate relationship with River Parish, Dirks said.

“My wife and I are aggressively growing and always talking to folks. We are always looking for additional assets. This owner was close to us, a younger guy who we were mentoring and trying to help him learn how to grow his business. He was trying to run the business on the side because is an insurance broker. We had a good operator in place there, but he was making typical mistakes of younger owners and got into a bind. I had always told him we would buy him or partner with him. He called me one day to see if we were interested in buying him out.”

As part of Limousine Livery’s growth strategy, the company also recently partnered with the Department of Energy-funded SOUTHEAST PROPANE AUTOGAS Development Program. As part of this partnership, Limousine Livery will be converting 20 Lincoln Town Cars to propane autogas, a clean-burning, American-made fuel that lowers greenhouse gas emissions and operating costs.

So far, three of the 20 have been converted, with the remaining to be done within the next six months, Aaron Dirks said.

“Limo Livery customers enjoy knowing they’re riding in green vehicles, and because propane autogas is 90% domestically produced, you can also feel good knowing you’re reducing U.S. dependence on foreign oil,” President and owner Christy Dirks said in a statement. “For any fleet that wants to reduce fuel costs, propane autogas is the smartest fuel choice you can make.”

Propane autogas has just started catching on in the U.S, which is home to less than 2% of the world’s 15 million autogas vehicles. Autogas costs around $1-per-gallon less than gasoline, which makes it an even more attractive option when gas prices skyrocket.

With this partnership with Autogas Development Program, Limousine Livery is able to:

• Reduce environmental impact. With lower on-site emissions, Limousine Livery will produce significantly less emissions than traditional gasoline, diesel or even electric vehicles by their conversion to propane fueled vehicles.

• Reduce dependence on foreign oil. Because more than 90% of propane autogas is domestically produced, Limousine Livery’s fleet helps reduce foreign oil dependence, create jobs and foster a green economy.

• Reduce cost of operations. Because propane autogas is less expensive than gasoline, the cost of implementing autogas fueling infrastructure and vehicle propane systems are much lower than other alternative fuel options.

• Increase safety. Autogas tanks help reinforce vehicle structure, and autogas is nontoxic, nonpoisonous and insoluble in water, unlike gasoline, diesel, methanol and ethanol. This offers passengers increased safety and greater comfort.

Limousine Livery is also a member of the LIMOUSINE ENVIRONMENTAL ACTION PARTNERSHIP (LEAP).

Sources: Martin Romjue, LCT editor; Limousine Livery press release

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