Waxler Towing is owned by the three grandson’s of its founder and provides transportation of petroleum products in 30 thousand barrel double-skinned barges pushed by 2,500 horse power twin-screw tow boats. The industry over the past several years had been transformed by Federal regulations designed to keep the water ways safe from the possibility of oil spills. Those regulations required Waxler to completely transform its fleet of barges from single skin hulls to double hulls at a tremendous cost. Waxler is a leader in the industry at staying ahead of the regulations. Waxler has been rewarded by building a strong reputation and earning the business of many refiners. The investment in a new fleet, however, had left the Waxler deeply in debt and still needing to make significant capital investment to stay ahead of its customers ever increasing demands.
SEACOR Holdings, Inc. is a global provider of marine support and transportation services, primarily to the energy and chemical industries. SEACOR and its subsidiaries provide customers with a full suite of marine-related services including offshore services, U.S. coastwise shipping, inland river services, helicopter services, environmental services, and offshore and harbor towing services.
With 30 thousand barrel double-skin barges now costing over $1.4 million and the cost of tow boats rising rapidly, the Waxler Companies were faced with the continual need for aggressive financing to afford the ever present need to upgrade and expand their fleet. The amount of financing required was an inordinate financial risk for a family-owned company. The family was interested in exploring options of how to affordably and strategically finance their growth. The family was also interested in exploring the sale of the Company to a third-party. The fact that the family greatly enjoyed their profession and were considered excellent managers complicated these matters.
At the commencement of our engagement with the Waxler family, we valued the business. The valuation is critical to assessing the ability to obtain financing and to assessing an expectation of the price for which the company could be sold. Our valuation analysis showed that there was a strong desire among large companies operating in the bulk transportation business to expand through strategic acquisition.
As expected, we found many quality strategic buyers through our research. Using our comprehensive Confidential Information Memorandum, we provided qualified potential acquirers with the information they needed to provide us with Indications of Interest. Based on the indications, we selectively reduced the number of potential buyers to three. Our process seldom interrupted management’s need to operate the Company.
SEACOR’s offer met all of the owner’s objectives and agreed to pay the highest price for the company. But not only did SEACOR offer the best financial package, the public company, based on their respect for the family members’ knowledge of their business, decided to allow the Company to continue operating under the Waxler flag and under their management. SEACOR provided Waxler with the financing necessary for Waxler’s fleet to grow and continue operating as they had always done.