TransForce, the $3.1 billion Canadian trucking operator, is bidding to acquire the Canadian operations of less-than-truckload carrier Vitran, less than a week after Toronto-based Vitran announced the sale of its U.S. business.
If the $4.50 per share offer is accepted, Vitran in Canada would be added to TransForce’s long list of LTL and truckload operating subsidiaries. The bid depends on the sale of Vitran’s U.S. operation, Vitran Express, to Matthew Maroun, owner of LTL carrier Central Transport International in Detroit.
“Vitran would remain a standalone business within the TransForce group of companies and TransForce is very keen that the existing management team remain with Vitran going forward to continue to execute their business plan,” TransForce said in a statement.
A new management team, led by interim CEO William Deluce, took over at Vitran earlier this year, following the departure of long-time CEO Rick Gaetz, after Vitran suffered five straight years of losses totaling $164.5 million.
Vitran operates two distinct LTL businesses: Vitran Express Canada and Vitran Express in the U.S. Nearly three quarters of its LTL revenue came from its U.S. business.
The Canadian LTL arm, which has 23 terminals and makes heavy use of intermodal rail to move goods from ports to key inland markets, is much healthier than its U.S. counterpart, which had 101 terminals in 34 states at the end of 2012.
TransForce currently holds about 9.5 percent of the outstanding shares of Vitran, which at $703 million in annual revenue was the 12th largest LTL carrier in North America in 2012, according to SJ Consulting Group data.
TransForce was the 13th largest LTL carrier on the JOC list of top 50 LTL carriers, with $653 million in LTL revenue in 2012, a 27 percent increase over 2011.