TransForce continues acquisition streak

Montreal-based TransForce Income Fund, which has steadily been acquiring a wide variety of Canadian trucking businesses, is trying to add another company to its holdings: Highland Transport, one of Canada's largest truckload carriers.

Alain Bédard, president and CEO of TransForce, said his company hopes to wrap up the Highland acquisition by September 30, due in part to its large presence both in the Canadian and U.S. trucking markets.

"Highland has a consistent history of profitability and a proven track record," he said. "Its very extensive reach in the truckload sector greatly strengthens our presence across Canada and in the continental U.S."

Highland's headquarters are in Toronto. It also has facilities in Montreal, Vancouver and Moncton. The company earned $125 million last year. Founded in 1967, the company's presence in the truckload sector extends through nine Canadian provinces and into key areas of the U.S.

TransForce itself remains profitable despite buying up six trucking companies in the last two years. Since 2002, TransForce has acquired explosive and petroleum hauler Retex Transport for $5 million; $140 million carrier Canspar Transport for $39.5 million; truckload and crossborder specialist Mirald Transport; $12 million carrier Transport Forestville; $33 million carrier Transport N.J.N; and Canadian Freightways for $69.6 million. It also assumed debts of the former subsidiary of bankrupt U.S. LTL giant Consolidated Freightways.

TransForce has stayed in the black despite all this. It earned $19.6 million on $276.9 million in revenues in the second quarter, compared to earnings of $11 million on revenues of $192.2 million in the same period last year. Its net income was $30.3 million in the first half of 2004 on revenues of $502.6 million, compared to earnings of $18.6 million on revenues of $374.7 million in the first half of 2003.

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