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Canada’s Mullen Group dips toe into truck sales with Bandstra acquisition

Trucking firm picks up Volvo and Mack dealership alongside British Columbia carrier

Mullen Group's portfolio of transportation and logistics companies includes Payne Transportation. (Photo: Jim Allen/FreightWaves)

Canadian trucking and logistics giant Mullen Group (TSX:MTL) has acquired British Columbia-based Bandstra Group of Companies in a deal that adds a trucking operation and — intriguingly — a Volvo and Mack truck dealership with three locations. 

The acquisition, announced late Friday, adds the 180-truck Bandstra Transportation Systems and Babine Truck & Equipment. Together they generate $78 million (CA$85 million) in revenue, according to Mullen. 

“This is another gem of a company that I am delighted to have in our growing organization,” CEO Murray Mullen said in a statement.  

From a trucking standpoint, the deal strengthens Mullen’s presence in British Columbia. Bandstra Transportation provides truckload, less-than-truckload, specialized and logistics services to the province’s northern communities.  

But the dealership represents a new line of business for Mullen Group, with its business dominated by transportation and logistics firms and to a lesser extent oil services based in western Canada. 

It wasn’t immediately known what plans, if any, Mullen has for Babine. With annual revenue of around $16 million, it represents a tiny piece of the Mullen Group’s overall business, which generated nearly $870 million in revenue in 2020. 

Mullen Group, the second-largest publicly traded trucking and logistics firm in Canada, has taken a more conservative approach to acquisitions than its larger rival, TFI International (NYSE:TFII), during the past year. 

Mullen announced its largest deal in recent memory in March: the acquisition of LTL carrier APPS Transport. It came after TFI pulled out of a deal to buy APPS, with CEO Alain Bedard suggesting that Canadian regulators raised antitrust concerns. 

Financial analysts will likely pepper CEO Mullen with questions about acquisitions going forward on Thursday, the day after the company reports first-quarter financial results. 

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Nate Tabak

Nate Tabak is a Toronto-based journalist and producer who covers cybersecurity and cross-border trucking and logistics for FreightWaves. He spent seven years reporting stories in the Balkans and Eastern Europe as a reporter, producer and editor based in Kosovo. He previously worked at newspapers in the San Francisco Bay Area, including the San Jose Mercury News. He graduated from UC Berkeley, where he studied the history of American policing. Contact Nate at [email protected].