Industry Research

SOUTHERN STRATEGY: Deal Allows Operator To Straddle Carolinas

LCT Staff
Posted on December 1, 2010

The Canady family operators in Charlotte, N.C. closed a purchase of Aiken Limousine on Tuesday that will bring in business from a big golf tournament and more locations in South Carolina and Georgia.

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — CLT EXPRESS LIVERY of Charlotte, N.C. grew into two more southern states this week with its acquisition of AIKEN LIMOUSINE in Aiken, S.C., opening up direct service in Aiken, Columbia, S.C., and Augusta, Ga., as well as throughout central South Carolina.

Owners Jeff and Laura Canady bought the assets of Aiken Limousine for about $400,000, reflecting an approximate book business value of $250,000 and vehicles worth about $150,000, said Tom Mazza, the leading U.S. chauffeured transportation industry consultant and broker who handled the deal. Aiken Limousine generates about $900,000 in annual sales.

Altogether, CLT EXPRESS LIVERY will operate about 40 black vehicles and have 20 employees, with projected revenues of the combined operations estimated at $2 million for 2011, said Jeff Canady, the president, who owns a minority stake in the company. His wife, Laura, is majority owner. CLT will operate Aiken under its moniker for the time being, but eventually will rename it SC Express Livery, as a division of CLT Express Livery.

As majority owner, Laura Canady becomes head of the largest female-owned and operated chauffeured transportation company in South Carolina. Jeff Canady will serve as president and his brother, James Canady, as general manager.

"We now have more than 40 vehicles and are truly able to serve not only Charlotte and Aiken but major metro areas such as Columbia and Augusta which are very close to our two bases," Laura Canady said in a statement.

As a result of the acquisition, CLT Express Livery will gain the lucrative transportation business from the annual Masters Golf Tournament held each April at the Augusta National Golf Club. Mazza estimates the 10-days of annual business associated with the tournament makes up about 25% of Aiken’s revenues.

The sellers of Aiken Limousine, Tony and Judy Jackson, sold the business because they wanted to retire from the limousine business, now that Tony Jackson is 74 years old, Mazza said. Judy Jackson also owns the concessions at the Greyhound bus station in Aiken, S.C., and the couple has other property investments.

“The Jacksons had built a great brand in Aiken Limousine and their systems were strong enough that we are not concerned about the two-hour distance from Charlotte," Jeff Canady said in a statement.

One immediate benefit of the deal is that CLT Express Livery no longer has to arrange trips through four affiliates in the region. It now can book seamless reservations in those cities served by CLT and Aiken. The owners now must focus on fully integrating the two companies, making sure that CLT practices and structures are extended to Aiken, Jeff Canady said.

Sources: Martin Romjue, LCT Magazine; TOM MAZZA CONSULTING

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