Market moves: Suppliers, upfitters bolster capabilities with purchases

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Updated Apr 1, 2024
Mergers and acquisitions roundup

March showed an uptick in acquisitions after a slow start to the year, with suppliers again leading the market with the most activity.

The aftermarket industry also picked up its pace. That segment had not had much movement since a busy end to 2023.

Tramec started the transactions for the month, acquiring Johnson Welded Products. The move will allow Tramec to continue its mission to supply high-quality products and services to customers in the tractor-trailer, military, public transportation, and public safety vehicle markets. “JWP has consistently demonstrated expertise and success in a broad array of manufacturing and service-related areas. We are beyond excited to add JWP’s manufacturing prowess to Tramec’s existing U.S.-based manufacturing portfolio of companies,” said Chelly Gomez, COO of Tramec’s Commercial vehicle platform.

Next was Morgan Truck Body, which acquired Transit Truck Bodies Inc. (Les Fourgons Transit Inc.), a manufacturer of truck bodies in Laval, Quebec, Canada. “We are excited to welcome Transit team members and customers to Morgan Truck Body. Transit’s expertise and leadership in truck body manufacturing and customer service in Canada strengthen our commitment to customers in North America to provide truck body innovations both now and in the future,” said Corby Stover, president of Morgan Truck Body.

In the dealer space, Valley Equipment was next, having acquired Utility Trailers of New England. “We’ve been looking to expand into the Northeastern United States for a while now and the perfect opportunity came from a well-established Utility dealer,” says Peter Cook, president of Valley Equipment and NorthEast Truck and Trailer Sales. “We’re excited to welcome and work with the entire team from Utility Trailers of New England and will continue to provide the same quality of service they are known for in the area.”

The next week Custom Truck One Source announced its first transaction of the year. The Fleet Services LLC, a full-service repair facility located in Alexandria, La. "The acquisition of the business of SOS Fleet Services marks an important step in our continued efforts to expand our footprint to better serve our rental fleet and our customers. We are thrilled for the opportunity to expand into Alexandria, a vibrant community that has deep roots in the powerline industry," said Ryan McMonagle, CEO of Custom Truck One Source.

On the same day FleetPride made news, acquiring two-time TPS Distributor of the Year finalist Wheelco, adding six locations to its national network. "We are honored that Steve Stich chose FleetPride to carry on the legacy of his family business," said FleetPride President Mike Harris. "We knew early in the process that Steve and his leadership team were going to integrate very well with our vision, values and purpose ... With such a strong culture, this is a high-fit business which will make FleetPride stronger end to end."  

Next was Southside Trailer Service. The HDA Truck Pride member grew strategically, adding fellow group member PBS Brake & Supply, expanding its market reach in the Great Lakes region from Erie, Pa., to Syracuse, N.Y. “We are pleased that PBS Brake & Supply will remain an integral part of HDA Truck Pride, under the Southside Trailer banner,” said HDA Truck Pride CEO Tina Hubbard. “The dedication and cooperation exhibited by both Southside Trailer and PBS further emphasizes the strength of the independent aftermarket, focusing their efforts on synergy and shared values.” 

In the emerging technology space, Xos announced its acquisition of ElectraMeccanica Vehicles Corp., a designer and assembler of electric vehicles, on March 26. "The growth capital received in the transaction, combined with our reduction of cash burn, provides an important pathway to profitability as we scale deliveries over the next several quarters," says Dakota Semler, CEO and co-Founder of Xos, Inc. "Xos is gross margin positive and has now charted our course to being free cash flow positive."

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