Arkansas Best Corp. Granted Confidentiality in SEC Filings

Not everything publicly traded companies do is, well, public.

We were reminded of this recently while reviewing documents that Arkansas Best Corp. of Fort Smith has filed with the Securities & Exchange Commission.

A “confidential treatment” order was entered by the SEC on April 4 at Arkansas Best’s request under the terms of Rule 24b-2.

Rule 24b-2 allows companies to request confidential treatment provided that “sufficient factual basis” can be established by the company making the request.

What is it that Arkansas Best has asked not be disclosed?

It’s information pertaining to a letter of credit agreement with PNC Bank of Pittsburgh.

Because of “competitive purposes,” the company was allowed to redact specifics of the agreement. Those deletions include basis points and a commitment fee.

Arkansas Best first asked for the confidential treatment in July 7, 2010, through December 30, 2011. An extension was requested and granted through Feb. 18 of this year and then extended this month until Dec. 7, 2014.

We don’t know how often companies request confidential treatment; all we know is that getting the SEC to approve seems to be pretty rare.

A review of all SEC filings currently available on SEC.gov for all of the publicly traded companies currently headquartered in the state — and these can date back almost 20 years — found that only two other corporations had successfully argued to have information sealed.

One is the state’s newest publicly traded company, Inuvo Inc. of Conway. That company is protecting a contract with Yahoo! through April 23, 2016.

The other, America’s Car-Mart of Bentonville, is protecting the identity of lessors and existing affiliate transactions listed on filings until March 2022.