Mullen’s Second-Biggest Deal: $172M to Buy Gardewine

OKOTOKS, AB- Alberta-based trucking company Mullen Group Ltd. said it’ll pay $172 million cash to buy Winnipeg-based transport company Gardewine Group Limited Partnership.

Okotoks-based trucking and oilfield firm Mullen will purchase Gardewine North, Northern Cartage, Northern Deck, Northern Bulk and Northern Logistics. The deal is expected to close in early 2015 and requires approvals by the Canadian Competition Bureau and Transport Canada to be finalized.

“This is one of those acquisitions that simply does not come along very often,” said Murray Mullen, CEO of Mullen Group. “As I have often articulated we do not acquire companies just for growth. They must be strategic to our business and meet our investment criteria.”

Mullen expects the purchase to contribute more than $225-million in annual revenue and about $25-million in annual operating income. Mullen’s trucking and logistics segment is expected to grow from 40 to 50 percent of overall company revenue with the acquisition.

Mullen added: “Trucking, and particularly the LTL segment of the transportation industry, has been and will continue to be an important element of the Canadian economy. Acquiring a brand name company like Gardewine will not only provide Mullen Group with a potential new growth opportunity, it will diversify our overall business, adding to our Trucking and Logistics segment during a time when the energy sector in western Canada is facing some cyclical headwinds. Diversification is truly one of the overall strengths of our organization.”

Gardewine, founded in 1952, provides both regional less-than-truckload , truckload and specialized truckload services such as dedicated, deck and bulk hauling primarily in Manitoba and Ontario. The company has about 660 trucks and 1,300 trailers, a network of 34 terminals and employs 1,500 people and 140 owner-operators.

The Gargewine deal is the second-biggest deal in Mullen’s history. The biggest deal Mullen ever made was in 2006, when they paid close to $1-billion worth of its trust units to buy Producers Oilfield Services Inc.

Gardewine by the numbers:

  • 500: number of communities in Manitoba, northern Ontario, Saskatchewan and Alberta in which Gardewine operates;
  • 660: power units that Gardewine operates. Of those, 520 are company owned and 140 belong to owner-operators;
  • 1,300: number of trailers, including straight vans, reefer units, decks and specialized bulk hauling trailers;
  • 34: number of terminals Gardewine operates. Of those, 23 are owned, 11 are leased and nine are partner sites. Together, they’re worth about $40 million;
  • 1,500: number of people Gardewine employs. Of those, 750 are drivers and 750 are warehouse, dock, maintenance, operations and admin personnel.

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