PHH sells trucking services subsidiary to First Data NTS called profitable but poor strategic fit

February 15, 1996|By Mark Guidera | Mark Guidera,SUN STAFF

PHH Corp., the diversified Hunt Valley company, is pulling out of the truck stop business.

The company, which specializes in corporate vehicle leasing, real estate and mortgage banking services, announced yesterday that it has sold NTS, a Texas-based subsidiary, to First Data Corp. of Englewood, Colo.

Neither First Data, an information processing company, nor PHH would disclose the sale price.

The subsidiary was sold, said Peter Brinch, PHH's director of external communications, because "it didn't fit the strategic template of the company." He declined to elaborate.

He did say that NTS was profitable, but was only a "small part" of PHH's vehicle leasing and management services unit. PHH had owned NTS for about 25 years, Mr. Brinch said.

NTS, he said, will remain in Forth Worth, Texas. It offers fuel purchase, repair and maintenance programs for the trucking industry at 3,400 truck stops in the United States and Canada.

NTS' key service is the TRANSCA$H card, which truckers use to pay for fuel and other vehicle expenses at truck stops, and helps employers track those expenses.

PHH said about 210,000 truck drivers in the U.S. and Canada use the cards. NTS earns money from the service by charging fees for billing, payment collection, record tracking and taking the credit risk.

Charlie Fote, First Data's executive vice president, said the NTS acquisition should be a good fit with two of his company's units, which offer money management and bill payment services -- namely, the money wiring services of Western Union and the automated bill payment services of Integrated Payment Systems Inc.

The acquisition, Mr. Fote said, "further expands our already strong presence in the payment instruments industry."

PHH's stock slipped yesterday, dropping $1.25 a share to $49. First Data's stock rose 75 cents per share to $73.75.

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