Market moves: New year starts with flurry of acquisitions in supplier, dealer space

Mergers and acquisitions roundup

The New Year has brought with it a lot of M&A news for the dealer, aftermarket and supplier channels. 

Dealers were first to get in on the action.

Velocity Truck Centers, one of the busiest dealer groups last year, kept up its torrid growth pace announcing on Jan. 4, it had acquired Triple-T Truck Centers. The acquisition added several dealership facilities in North and South Carolina and an aftermarket parts company. “We are very excited to extend our reach in the Carolinas with the addition of the Triple-T locations which have an exceptionally dedicated employee base that we look forward to working with as part of the Velocity team,” said Brad Fauvre and Conan Barker, co-presidents, Velocity Truck Centers.

M&K Truck Centers also was a growing business in 2021 that continued expanding in January. In a move finalized Dec. 31, 2021, and announced a week later, M&K acquired nine dealerships and business operations previously owned by Legacy Truck Centers. “Our leadership team is thrilled to welcome both Matt and John to the M&K family in addition to over 200 talented new employees and we look forward to an exciting 2022 as we work together to integrate these operations,” said Ron Meyering, M&K’s CEO.

Suppliers quickly followed, as three companies announced acquisitions on Jan. 6

One was DexKo Global, whose wholly owned subsidiary Dexter Axle Company acquired The Expediter LLC, a West Palm Beach, Fla.-based source for wholesale trailer parts, braking systems, towing solutions, suspensions and trailer electrical parts. “Bringing The Expediter into the Dexter Distribution Group provides a strategic location in South Florida that will help to better serve our combined customers while also continuing to build on the success and growth of the business,” said Dexter President and CEO Adam Dexter.

Eaton also made its first move of the year in January. The company acquired Royal Power Solutions, a U.S.-based manufacturer of high-precision electrical connectivity components used in electric vehicle, energy management, industrial and mobility markets. “Growth opportunities tied to the electrification of our economy are accelerating, and Eaton is fully participating through our mobility and electrical businesses,” said Heath Monesmith, president and CEO, industrial sector, Eaton.

The third supplier announcement of the month came from Clarience Technologies, which acquired Fleetilla, an Ann Arbor, Mich.-based telematics provider that serves commercial trucking and transportation. “As connected technologies become the digital backbone supporting electric and autonomous vehicles, we want our solutions to set the industry benchmark,” said Brian Kupchella, CEO, Clarience Technologies. “Fleetilla offers unique solutions that complement our Road Ready products and strengthens our technology foundation.” 

Another move finalized in December and announced in January was Tramec Sloan's acquisition of Penz Products, a diverse manufacturer known for thermoforming, vacuum forming, urethane foaming and more. “Penz Products is a perfect complement to our existing product lines, target markets, and manufacturing capabilities,” said Mark Holm, president, Tramec Sloan. “We will begin leveraging their strengths immediately to better serve our customer base in North America and beyond.”

Aftermarket manufacturers were active too. Minnesota-based engine remanufacturing company Reviva acquired Northwest Casting Service, a Portland, Ore., company that specializes in remanufacturing and sourcing heavy-duty engines and components. “Paul and Kathy Masters have done a great job creating a company that aligns perfectly with Reviva in terms of culture and product offering,” said Josh Stahl, Reviva CEO. “It is a natural fit; the people and products are excellent, and I am very excited about Reviva’s and NWCS’s future.”

Dealers got back into the game on Jan. 11, when RV Retailer announced its acquisition of Country Camper, which will be finalized next month. Country Camper has stores in Vermont and New Hampshire and a new store under construction in Connecticut. “We are excited to enter New England and serve customers in that region, it has attractive RV demographics. This gives us a strong platform for growth in the Northeast United States,” said RVR CEO and President Jon Ferrando.

Also growing in the dealer sector was Custom Truck One Source, which acquired HiRail Leasing, Northshore Rail Contracting and Heavy Equipment Repairs (collectively, HiRail) in Canada. The expansion adds to Custom Truck's reach in Ontario and Alberta. "We are excited to welcome HiRail to the Custom Truck team," said CEO Fred Ross. "This acquisition allows us to accelerate growth in our core rental business. We will leverage our one-stop shop capabilities in rental, sales, equipment upfitting and service to meet the critical equipment needs of new and existing customers."

January also saw the closure of Cummins' 50 percent acquisition of Momentum Fuel Technologies, a move first announced last year. The joint venture between Rush Enterprises and Cummins will seek to enhance production of near-zero emissions natural gas powertrains. “This collaboration shows Cummins’ continued commitment to natural gas powertrains and this partnership will expand and improve the service and support for CNG and RNG customers,” says Srikanth Padmanabhan, president of the Engine Business, Cummins.

FleetPride also made its first acquisition in 2022 this month, acquiring the assets of Nationwide Truck Service of Louisville, Ky. The service center will now team up with the existing FleetPride parts branch in Louisville to create a complete value proposition for customers. “We are truly excited to welcome Eric and Jake Adkins and the entire Nationwide Truck Service team to the FleetPride family,” adds Cory Anderson, general manager and vice president of service, FleetPride. 

That same day American Trailer World announced the acquisition of Wholesale Trailer Supply, a Sacramento, Calif.-based trailer parts and accessories distributor. ATW is North America’s leading manufacturer, distributor, and retailer of professional and consumer grade trailers, truck equipment, parts, and accessories. “Wholesale Trailer Supply is highly complementary to our existing TexTrail distribution portfolio, and through this acquisition, ATW is advancing its position as the industry’s leading trailer parts provider,” says Eric Zimmer, American Trailer World president, Retail and Distribution.

The month ended with RV Retailer, who acquired Appleway RV to expand its presence in the Pacific Northwest. Appleway has two locations in Washington state. "This acquisition will make us the No. 1 RV dealer in Washington based on new RV sales. The RV demographics are exceptional in that part of the country with a large and growing base of RV customers enjoying the great outdoors along with strong population growth," says says RV Retailer CEO Jon Ferrando.

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