Mullen Group acquiring Manitoba-based trucker Gardewine for $172 million

OKOTOKS, Alta. – The Mullen Group Ltd. (TSX:MTL) says it will pay $172 million in cash to acquire the assets of Gardewine Group Limited Partnership, one of the largest privately owned trucking companies in Canada.

Under the deal, Mullen will acquire the businesses, including land and buildings of Manitoba-based Gardewine. The businesses include Gardewine North, Northern Cartage, Northern Deck, Northern Bulk and Northern Logistics.

The deal, announced Monday after markets closed, is expected to be completed in early 2015.

Gardewine provides regional less-than-truckload, truckload and specialized truckload services primarily in Manitoba and Ontario. It operates a fleet of some 660 trucks and 1,300 trailers through a network of 34 owned and leased terminals and has some 1,500 employees and 140 contract owner operators.

“This is one of those acquisitions that simply does not come along very often,” Mullen chairman and CEO Murray Mullen said Monday in announcing the deal.

“. . . We do not acquire companies just for growth. They must be strategic to our business and meet our investment criteria. This transaction passed both of these tests and, of course, having the balance sheet and resources available to complete a transaction of this size is an essential component of any acquisition.”

Mullen Group said it expects the acquisition will contribute additional annual revenue in excess of $225 million and will immediately add to earnings.

On the Toronto Stock Exchange, Mullen Group shares closed down 46 cents of just over two per cent at $22.19 on Monday.