James Brown Contracting Buys West Brothers’ Cos.

James Brown Contracting, owned by Navigation Capital Partners, has acquired West Brothers’ Cos. Financial terms weren’t announced. Durham, N.C.-based West Brothers provides transportation, logistics and leasing of commercial fleet services in the Southeast. James Brown Contracting, of Lithonia, Ga., is a dedicated short-haul truckload carrier. Navigation Capital is a PE firm from Atlanta.


Navigation Capital Partners (NCP), an Atlanta-based middle market private equity firm, announced that its portfolio company James Brown Contracting, Inc. (Brown Trucking), a dedicated short-haul truckload carrier, has acquired Durham, N.C.-based West Brothers’ Companies (West), a provider of transportation, logistics and leasing of commercial fleet services in the Southeast.

The West transaction means Brown Trucking has acquired three additional lines of business: warehousing, contract leasing and maintenance, and brokerage. Brown Trucking now has a combined total of 810 trucks and 3,500 trailers. In August 2010, Brown Trucking added 95 trucks and 201 trailers with the acquisition of Schrader Trucking Company, Inc., a Jefferson City, Tenn.-based dry van truckload carrier.

“West has an outstanding reputation, a stellar safety record and a talented staff,” said John Richardson, board director of Brown Trucking and managing partner of NCP. “Adding asset light divisions to Brown, such as the warehousing and brokerage business lines, will increase growth opportunities as well as add value to Brown’s existing customers.”

“Since our acquisition of Brown in 2008, we have actively reviewed many follow-on acquisition opportunities,” said David Panton, board chairman of Brown Trucking and partner of NCP. “West and Schrader represent the best of these for executing our strategy of creating the premier Southeast-focused, diversified logistics and transportation company.”

West includes four companies: trucking company West Brothers’ Transportation Services, Inc.; subsidiary West Brothers’ Transportation Solutions, LLC, a provider of global freight brokerage services; Logistics Leasing, LLC, an asset-based full-service truck leasing and maintenance company; and West Logistics, Inc., a provider of contract warehousing and distribution services. Each West entity will become a division of Brown Trucking. Current owners Craig West and Tommy West will exit the business.

West primarily works in verticals such as paper, construction machinery, personal care products, consumer packaging and pharmaceuticals. Brown Trucking has historically focused on service to the paper and packaging, major appliances, consumer packaged goods and building materials industries.

“Combining forces with West will diversify our customer concentration across industries, enable us to expand our service offerings and provide significant cross-selling opportunities,” said Brian Kinsey, CEO of Brown Trucking. “West has built a strong business that fits well within Brown’s geographic footprint and will enable more efficient asset utilization.”

“The two companies have synergies in approach, management style and culture,” said Tommy West, chairman and co-owner of West. “We’re confident this move is the right fit for the future of West and Brown.”

Investment banking firm Jacobs Capital, LLC represented West throughout the transaction. Wells Fargo Bank, N.A., acted as the senior lender, while Hancock Capital Management and Hancock Life Insurance provided mezzanine capital financing and partnered with NCP to provide equity. Barnes and Thornburg LLP acted as legal advisor for Brown, while Wyrick Robbins Yates & Ponton LLP provided legal counsel for West.

“The addition of West will leverage the existing fleet and management teams of both companies, creating a stronger combined entity,” said O.G. Greene, board director of Brown Trucking and NCP operating partner.

Since 2009, NCP has acquired four new platform investments, and seven add-on acquisitions have been completed across its portfolio.

About Navigation Capital Partners

Navigation Capital Partners (NCP) is an Atlanta-based private equity firm making control growth and buyout investments in lower middle market companies. The managers of NCP formerly founded and managed Mellon Ventures, the private equity investment partnership of Mellon Financial Corporation. With the backing of Goldman Sachs Private Equity Opportunities Fund LP, NCP acquired the private equity portfolio of Mellon Ventures in December 2006. NCP currently manages approximately $277 million of invested and committed capital. For more information, visit www.NavigationCapital.com.

About James Brown Contracting, Inc.

Lithonia, Ga.-based James Brown Contracting, Inc. (Brown Trucking) is a leading Southeast regional dedicated truckload carrier, and has been in business for more than 40 years. Brown Trucking is focused on the middle of the supply chain of our customer base, where time-sensitive delivery and information services are critical to our customers. We specialize in service to the paper and packaging, major appliances, consumer packaged goods and building materials industries. Also known as James Brown Trucking Co., the company operates 16 terminals in the Southeast and Mid-South region with 810 trucks and more than 3,500 trailers. For more information, visit www.BrownTrucking.com.

About West Brothers’ Companies

West Brothers’ Companies (West) is one of the leading providers of dedicated contract transportation, warehousing, logistics and transportation equipment leasing services in the Southeast. Headquartered in Durham, N.C., West has offices, distribution centers and maintenance facilities located in N.C., S.C., Ky., Fla., Tenn., N.J., and Calif. For more information, visit www.WestBros.com.