Just when you figured that YRC Worldwide (Nasdaq: YRCW ) was headed off to the bankruptcy reorganization slaughterhouse, a glimmer of viability shines through.
The trucking company that specializes in less-than-truckload shipments saw its shares pop nearly 19% higher at the open, after it announced a tentative agreement with the Teamsters union over the weekend.
The deal finds unionized drivers making cost concessions, with YRC addressing pension fund concerns and other competitive matters.
"This tentative agreement is an important step toward the completion of our comprehensive recovery plan," YRC COO Mike Smid noted in Friday night's release. "As our business continues to improve, the implementation of this tentative agreement will allow us to continue to provide our customers with a comprehensive portfolio of services that is competitive and reliable."
If all goes according to plan, the agreement should be ratified and completed next month.
When investors think of unions and corporations butting heads before compromising for the sake of mutual survival, the natural images that pop up are legacy carriers and stateside automakers.
YRC can use all the help it can get. It hasn't turned a quarterly profit in two years. This has been a bad niche, lately. Rival Arkansas Best (Nasdaq: ABFS ) has to go back nearly two years to find its last profitable quarter. Saia (Nasdaq: SAIA ) dances in and out of red ink. Con-way (NYSE: CNW ) is the profitable standout.
Playing nice with the Teamsters is one way to kick off a short squeeze. It will have to do, since profitability is still several quarters away.
It's not the only way that YRC is revving up to stay alive, though. It raised a little money by selling its logistics business last month. Its most recent quarter was somewhat encouraging, as a narrower loss was coupled with sequential volume improvement.
The road will be long for YRC, even with the Teamsters agreement, if the economy takes a step back. However, the trend of upbeat news and the juicy short position waiting to be rolled over makes this an intriguing -- though certainly risky -- play.
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