Yellow acquired by Europe's Connex

`Little will change,' declares CEO of Baltimore company

July 14, 2001|By Gus G. Sentementes | Gus G. Sentementes,SUN STAFF

Connex, one of Europe's largest passenger transport companies, confirmed yesterday that it acquired Yellow Transportation Inc. of Baltimore.

There had been speculation for days that Yellow would sell to Connex, though company officials declined to comment on the reports.

Terms of the deal were not disclosed, and executives from both companies declined to comment until Monday.

In a letter to the Maryland Public Service Commission, however, Mark L. Joseph, president and chief executive officer of Yellow, said that "little will change other than an acceleration of our growing ability to serve the community better. Our staff remains intact with no changes."

Under the deal, Joseph told the PSC, he will continue as CEO and the company's name will continue, although Connex may be added to it.

The headquarters will remain in Baltimore, he added, where it has been since the company was formed in 1909.

"We will have a greater set of resources to assist our customers in such areas as fleet management, safety, training, marketing and overall buying power," Joseph's letter said.

Yellow chose Connex for the "depth of resources that will now be available to Yellow," Joseph said. He added that he believes the Paris-based company is committed to customer satisfaction.

The PSC, which regulates for-hire passenger carriers and taxicabs, has requested a meeting with Joseph on Tuesday to discuss the deal.

Connex's acquisition of Yellow marks the European company's first foray into the U.S. passenger transportation service market. It has broad experience operating rail lines and bus networks under private and government contracts in Europe, Asia and the Philippines.

In 1999, the company made more than 1 billion trips, employing 12,500 buses and coaches and 3,500 rail vehicles, according to its 2000 annual statement.

Connex is part of Vivendi Environnement SA, which is partly owned by French conglomerate Vivendi Universal SA.

Yellow operates more than half of Baltimore's taxicabs, including Checker Cab, Yellow Cab and Sun Cab. It has a work force of 1,500 people in Maryland, Washington, Virginia and Connecticut, Joseph wrote in his letter to the PSC.

Yellow also provides transit services for disabled passengers through a contract with the Mass Transit Administration, as well as transit services for corporations.

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