Continental Express Close to Sale to Celadon Group

(UPDATED: The sale goes through. Celadon announces purchase for $24 million.)

Negotiations are ongoing for the sale of Continental Express of Little Rock to Celadon Group Inc., the publicly traded trucking company based in Indianapolis, Lane Kidd, executive director of the Arkansas Trucking Association, confirmed Wednesday.

Craig Koven, communications manager for Celadon, also hinted Wednesday that such a deal was in the works:

"If that does proceed and go through, we'll be putting out a press release," Koven told ArkansasBusiness.com.

A call to Ralph Bradbury, president of Continental Express, was not immediately returned. Continental Express is owned by Ed Harvey of Little Rock.

The long-haul truckload company reported $107 million in revenue in 2007, placing it at No. 70 on Arkansas Business' most recent list of the state's largest private companies. The company had 900 employees, including drivers.

The jobs of the drivers are probably safe, Kidd said, although administrative staff jobs might be lost in the deal.

Celadon is a $500 million truck-load company.