Manitoulin Transport to acquire Vitran Corp.

Deal not complete despite numerous reports

GORE BAY—Manitoulin Transport is in the process of what it hopes will be the acquisition of the Canadian assets of Vitran Corp., a less-than-truck-load (LTL) firm headquartered in Concord, Ontario. However, the final deal is far from being completed at this time, Gord Smith, chief executive officer of Manitoulin Transport, confirmed on Tuesday, despite numerous newspaper and magazine articles detailing the deal as having been finalized already.

“I can clarify that Vitran Corp. has been in business since about 1990 and they are North American, they deal in both Canada and the United States,” Mr. Smith told the Recorder. “I would guess about 70-75 percent of their business is carried out in the US and between 25-30 percent in Canada.”

“The US piece of the company was sold a few months ago to the carrier Central Transport in Michigan and they set out to see if there would be any buyers who would buy the Canadian piece of the company,” said Mr. Smith. “They hired the consulting firm Stephens Inc., so we contacted them, as did a number of other interested parties. We went through the process, as other companies have, to establish who would be the successful candidate.”

Mr. Smith noted, “it would appear our bid is the leading bid at this time and we have officially made an offer to buy the Canadian division of the company from the public company and take it from being public to private. But we will run it as a standalone business.”

“The business has a very significant inter-modal component which we’ve been looking to add to our group of services,” explained Mr. Smith.

However, Mr. Smith stressed, “the shareholders of the company will be meeting to accept or reject our offer and that will not be taking place until late February (2014). We have a bid in, but we are still far from having bought the company. This will go to their shareholders and if they give it the thumbs up, the deal would probably close about a month after that.”

Several publications have reported incorrectly that the purchase has already been completed.

It has been reported that the deal, including the assumption of Vitran’s outstanding net debt of about US$29 million, is worth about US$128 million.

William Deluce, Vitran’s interim president and CEO, has stated in a press release, “we are extremely excited to join with Manitoulin Transport to leverage the operational strengths of both companies. Together Vitran and Manitoulin Transport will become a formidable and diversified supplier for customers requiring a full suite of transportation and supply chain services in Canada and the United States.”

Mr. Deluce also said in the release, “we are extremely pleased that this transaction will provide our shareholders significant and immediate value for their shares. We thank each and every one of our Vitran employees for their efforts and steadfast commitment to Vitran and wish them nothing but the best in the future.”

Tom Sasvari