Sunday, October 25, 2015

AEP to close River Ops sale to ACBL next month

That's what AEP CEO Nick Akins said in a conference call with investment analysts last week after his company announced its third-quarter earnings results.

There was no mention of the process for taking the AEP boats out of action or sending them to ACBL docks leading up to whatever date it is that the sale will close. With November almost on us, I assume that will be sometime soon.

It's going to be odd seeing the Buckeye State and other AEP boats in ACBL colors and probably with new names. That assumes ACBL is keeping all of them. For all I know, it might plan to sell the boats it didn't really want but had to buy to get the boats it wanted most.

That's how it works in the newspaper business. I know, because the daily newspaper I used to work for was sold along with three others, and the transaction didn't seem to make sense given the operating philosophy of our new owners. I said as much (diplomatically, of course) in the Page One article announcing the sale. Sure enough, within a few months we were sold again. The second new owner bought when a lot of people were overpaying for newspapers. The Great Recession hit, cutbacks were made and I was out of the job I had had for more than thirty years.

What happens with the boats and barges under ACBL's ownership should provide interesting. If nothing else, it will give a lot of us something to talk about and to aim our cameras at.