Two Big Washington, D.C. Area Operations Merge

Martin Romjue
Posted on May 15, 2019
(L to R) Richard Kane, CEO and owner of International Limousine Service and Robert Alexander, CEO of RMA Worldwide (Photos: LCT)

(L to R) Richard Kane, CEO and owner of International Limousine Service and Robert Alexander, CEO of RMA Worldwide (Photos: LCT)

WASHINGTON, D.C. —  RMA Worldwide Chauffeured Transportation formally announced May 15 it has acquired competitor International Limousine Service, creating a regional luxury transportation service with 400+ vehicles and buses that spans the vast metro regions encompassing Baltimore, Central Maryland, Washington, D.C., Northern Virginia, and Richmond, Va.

The deal closed on May 10 and was immediately announced on Facebook. It was relayed to International Limousine Service customers on May 13. Exact terms of the sale agreement were not disclosed, but RMA Worldwide gains International's assets, vehicles, employees, and customer contracts. The combined operations will run entirely under the RMA Worldwide brand led by its CEO Robert Alexander, who founded RMA in 1988 with one sedan as a college student in his parents' house.

Washington D.C. operator Richard Kane may be leaving the luxury transportation industry, but he carries on his family's 100-year ground transportation legacy by rejoining the freight and trucking sector. (LCT file photo courtesy of International Limousine Service)

Washington D.C. operator Richard Kane may be leaving the luxury transportation industry, but he carries on his family's 100-year ground transportation legacy by rejoining the freight and trucking sector. (LCT file photo courtesy of International Limousine Service)

International Limousine Service owner and CEO Richard Kane exited the company May 10 and will transition to owner and CEO of The Kane Group, a freight and trucking company that has been a longstanding part of the business portfolio of the Kane family that extends back 100 years. The Kane family acquired International Limousine Service in 1980, nine years after it was founded. Richard Kane, who previously worked in trucking as a young man, became CEO and owner in 2003, succeeding his late father, E.I. Kane.

The combined business is projected to serve more than 6,000 clients and transport nearly 12 million passengers in 400+ vehicles this year. The privately-held company will employ more than 550 people in the region and operate facilities in Baltimore, North Bethesda, Washington, DC, and will soon open additional facilities in Richmond, Va. RMA predicts $65 million+ in revenue this year and will continue to provide customers with worldwide service through its affiliate network in 600 cities around the globe. Kane will lease his Washington, D.C.-based facility back to RMA.

International Limousine has about 120 vehicles and 200 employees and RMA has about 250+ vehicles and about 350 employees. All employees will keep their jobs, Kane said. The two companies share an identical reservation system, meaning customer profiles will not need to change.

Alexander and Kane were longtime colleagues and friendly competitors on the National Limousine Association board of directors, where Alexander now serves as Treasurer. Kane served on the board from 2007-2016, including a term as president in 2008-09. As a Washington, D.C. area native, resident, and business owner, Kane was instrumental in coordinating the NLA's federal legislative and regulatory agenda and its annual lobbying efforts on Capitol Hill.

“I have done my tour of duty and ran [International] for 15 years,” Kane told LCT on May 15. “I have been actively involved in the NLA, and I just thought this would be a good time to go in a different direction. I felt the competition of chauffeured car industry has changed, and it needed more attention rather than less.”

Kane said the deal was spurred by a casual conversation with Alexander in December. "I was having a beer with Robert and we talked about opportunities that then evolved into, 'Why don’t we merge?' I wanted my team to be part of a bigger operation. This combination is an unprecedented opportunity for my team."

Kane said the acquisition presents a diverse fleet mix since RMA had focused more on running sedans and SUVs, while International leaned toward mini-coaches, minibuses, and vans. RMA recently bought 13 motorcoaches. "The two parts together make a complementary portfolio of shared vehicles," Kane said.

He also cited increased ground transportation competition overall as well as market pressures generated by transportation network companies (TNCs) such as Uber, which have pushed chauffeured operations more heavily into buses and more diverse fleet vehicles. That has squeezed gross profits. "With more competition, it makes it difficult to earn the same dollar on the same revenue for vehicles. We looked at the merger as a way to offset our overhead and make our current pricing more profitable."

In transitioning to his new role as CEO of The Kane Group, Kane is rejoining an industry growing because of what he calls "the Amazon effect." "Deliveries are becoming an extremely inviting opportunity," he said. He is looking to acquire another company in the freight sector to grow his company's freight, trucking, and logistics reach.

Alexander could not immediately be reached for comment for this article. However, in a press release, he stated: “The combination of RMA and International Limousine Service creates a strong transportation option for businesses, associations, and individuals in the Greater Baltimore-Washington region. We can provide a premium quality service for every client’s transportation needs--whether its operating shuttles, providing executive transportation, or motorcoaches.”

He added, “The market for chauffeured transportation has grown tremendously over the last few years. We realized with the expanded market there is an incredible opportunity for a provider who is focused on service quality and safety. We want to be the first choice for chauffeured services, whether its running shuttles between campuses or driving executives to the airport. We can now deploy vehicles more quickly, provide more transportation choices, and do it with white-glove service.”

RMA Worldwide provides chauffeured transportation for Fortune 500 executives, as well as individuals working in finance, media, entertainment, sports, university athletics, and destination management companies. RMA’s extensive fleet includes new executive sedans, SUVs, deluxe touring vans, and more than 100 late model mini and coach buses that service its more than 30 charter and shuttle contracts with colleges/universities, private schools, municipalities, and building owners.

About RMA Worldwide
RMA Worldwide Chauffeured Transportation (www.rmalimo.com) is a chauffeured transportation service company that employs more than 550 staff with a fleet of more than 460 sedans, SUVs, vans, stretch limousines, shuttle buses, and full-sized motor coaches. The company also operates Orange Taxi and Baltimore’s Charm City Circulator. Founded in 1988, RMA Worldwide has offices in North Bethesda and Baltimore, and works with a worldwide network that services 600 cities across the globe.
About International Limousine Service
Kane International Limousine is one of the largest privately-owned limousine and ground transportation company based in Washington DC, employing 200 personnel with a fleet of more than 120 vehicles including minibuses, sedans, SUV’s, Sprinters and vans. The company has a history of providing luxury prearranged and secure transportation services to high profile groups, including motorcade visits to DC by Mother Teresa, the multi-city tour with the Pope Francis Papal Delegation, and five U.S. Presidential Inaugurations.

Additional sources: Lexi Tucker, LCT senior editor; RMA press release

Related Topics: affiliate networks, business deals, largest fleets, Maryland operators, mergers & acquisitions, National Limousine Association, Richard Kane, RMA, Robert Alexander, Virginia operators, Washington DC operators

Martin Romjue Editor
Comments ( 2 )
  • Steve Mair Metropolitan T

     | about 6 months ago

    Congrats Robert I wish you well you earned and deserve it.

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