UPDATED: MacKinnon Transport files NOI; Contrans COO says it’s “premature” to discuss van line acquisition

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GUELPH, Ont. — Trucknews.com has learned MacKinnon Transport has filed a Notice of Intention (NOI) under the Bankruptcy and Insolvency Act in order to restructure the company.

Meanwhile, MacKinnon’s van division drivers have been told an agreement is in place for Laidlaw Van, owned by Contrans, to acquire the division and ensure their continued employment.

Reached for comment, Greg Rumble, president and COO of Contrans, said while the company has been in discussions with MacKinnon, any acquisition is still in the very early stages.

“It’s really very, very premature to make any comment at this point in time. We are going through a due diligence process and once that process is finished, we will be able to determine how we proceed,” Rumble said.

When asked if the intent is to hire MacKinnon’s van division drivers and owner/operators, Rumble said: “If everything goes through, it’s definitely true. But there’s a process that’s going on. And it is indicated in the process that they intend to file an NOI. They haven’t filed it yet to my knowledge and if you haven’t filed it, you can’t complete a transaction under the Bankruptcy Act until that’s filed and the trustee in bankruptcy does his job…are we interested? Absolutely, yes we are. We are proceeding with our due diligence. Absolutely I would love to conclude this deal.”

He then joked: “If (an NOI) has been filed, let me know.”

Alex MacKinnon, senior vice-president of finance and administration with MacKinnon Transport, notified drivers via a satellite message yesterday that an NOI was filed Dec. 13.

“Let me stress that this is NOT a bankruptcy of Mackinnon Transport, we have a NOI to make a proposal which offers creditor protection strategy, that will provide the time and stability necessary to complete financial restructuring, which will make MacKinnon Transport a stronger industry competitor with a renewed financial outlook,” the message, obtained by Trucknews.com, said.

A second message delivered today, said: “I am pleased to announce that Laidlaw Van LP has purchased Mackinnon Transport Van Division. Laidlaw has agreed to employ all of our Van Division Drivers (company drivers and owner operators).”

Just because a company files an NOI does not mean it will be going out of business. Many companies have emerged from creditor protection, including Bruce R. Smith.

MacKinnon Transport has a 75-year history and has always been considered one of Canada’s premier flatdeck carriers, operating approximately 270 trucks. It has also won fleet safety awards from Volvo Trucks and the Truckload Carriers Association. Mackinnon has also been named a Best Fleet to Drive For under a program run by CarriersEdge and the Truckload Carriers Association.

The company purchased L.E. Walker in 2009 in a major acquisition and then placed that division into creditor protection, from which it did not emerge, on Dec 8, 2009 – two years and five days to the date MacKinnon itself filed for protection.

Contrans, for its part, hinted it was on the lookout for acquisitions at the recent Ontario Trucking Association convention.

“It’s a great time to be looking for acquisitions,” Rumble said at the time. “You get a chance to see what a company was able to do through the toughest economic times in 25 years. If the company has done reasonably well in the 2008-2010 period, I’m willing to pay for that. We’ll pay a fair market value and allow the company to continue doing what it has been doing. We’re prepared to pay for companies that have done well through the recession.” 

When asked today if those remarks would indicate that MacKinnon’s van division has weathered the storm reasonably well over the past couple years, he said “I wouldn’t assume that.”

Calls to MacKinnon Transport have not yet been returned.

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  • if laidlaw keeps this up taking over all the trucking companys,there won’t be any competition left so if your not with them you don’t work.

  • another big carrier cutting frieght rates…finally caught up to them….about time for rhis industry to stop haulin freight to keep the wheels rolling…if it doesn’t pay DON’t HAUL IT

  • Laidlaid is part of the bigger Contrans Corporation so how is that any different than being aquired by TransForce? They have similar corporate structure. So, before you start slinging 10-4’s like you have just made a funny, maybe understand the industry from inside the building first.

  • I don’t know why everyone is barking about Laidlaw being so big as if they are swallowing the industry. In case you didn’t know, Laidlaw Van has less than 300 trucks and is a separate company from tanks, flatbed bed etc. Perhaps if MacKinnon had set up their business as two entities, they would have seen the wring on the wall before they tried to make a bad deal with Walker. Hind sight…..right?

  • 95% of jobs kept. That’s impresive and obviously of top priority of the mackinnon “family”. Times are tough, and it’s real that “other” aquisitions were failed due to misrepresentation. I’d guess that VP’s left because they were the problem, not because they could see writting on the wall. More to any story than what people think.

  • They should have stayed strictly with flatbed trucking , that was what they HAD been good at.

    They bought that reefer / van outfit years back ( Southwestern ) , then the Walker deal nothing came out of either deal.

    Sorry for the drivers & O/O’s that are in limbo at this time of year.

  • Well i work for mackinnon and am disapointed that they waited till chrismast to realize their trouble. Last meeting we were told that we made lots of money last year and that we weathered the storm verry good.2 wheeks later we don’t know nothing .it’s all been a big secret. In closing,i wiche with all my heart that the Mackinnon famaly members never have to worry about their job like we have been!

  • Pirate, you commented below about misrepresentation?? What do you mean by this, no where have I read anything about this. My friend that works at Mackinnon has told me that the VP of Sales has left the company as well. WOW, VP of Operations, VP of Finance, VP of Sales all quit (not terminated) if the VP’s were the problem as you say who the heck hired them and kept them for all this time??
    50 best companies what a joke…..

    “95% of jobs kept. That’s impresive and obviously of top priority of the mackinnon “family”. Times are tough, and it’s real that “other” aquisitions were failed due to misrepresentation. I’d guess that VP’s left because they were the problem, not because they could see writting on the wall. More to any story than what people think”.