Cold storage giant Lineage Logistics LLC is adding another page to its scrapbook of recent acquisitions, saying Thursday it had acquired Ontario Refrigerated Services Inc. and would use the Toronto-area firm to begin its first chapter of operations in Canada.
Terms of the deal were not disclosed.
Backed by private equity investors, Novi, Michigan-based Lineage has been on a takeover tear in the temperature-controlled logistics sector, buying up both Henningsen Cold Storage Co. and Maines Paper & Food Service in May, the Australia-region firm Emergent Cold and the international provider Preferred Freezer Services in 2019, and other deals in the previous years.
For its latest deal, Lineage partnered on the investment with CapCold Group Inc., an entity formed by Robert and Patrick Molyneux to pursue the acquisition of North American cold storage companies. Both men will now join Lineage as advisors, offering in-depth experience in major Canadian market centers as the company works to strengthen its Canadian platform, Lineage said.
In buying Ontario Refrigerated Services (ORS), Lineage gains ownership of four modern facilities within 93 miles of Toronto that collectively offer 510,000 square feet and 100,000 pallet positions of refrigerated capacity. Following the close of this transaction, Lineage will feature a global footprint that spans over 1.9 billion cubic feet of temperature-controlled capacity across over 300 facilities in 13 countries spanning North America, Europe, Asia, Australia, New Zealand, and South America.
The announcement came a day after a competing U.S. cold chain solution provider, RLS Logistics, said it had created a joint venture that will offer customers the ability to work with a network of regional, family-run cold storage providers on a national basis.
Without naming Lineage, Newfield, New Jersey-based RLS said it made the move after seeing the impact of consolidation in the cold chain industry in recent years, leading to over 60% of public cold storage operations in the U.S. being owned by a handful of companies.
The cornerstone of RLS’ plan is to partner with existing operators in 10 to 12 “megaregions” of the U.S., as well as Eastern and Western Canada. These operators will maintain significant equity in their respective regions and will continue to oversee operations, customer relationships, and team member development. As RLS builds out this network, food manufacturers will be able to expand into new markets with the benefit of trusted relationships, hands-on involvement, and the commitment of a family-run company, the firm said.
As a result, small- and medium-sized manufacturers of frozen and refrigerated foods will now have an entrepreneur-led alternative to the larger and more bureaucratic providers, the company said. "For manufacturers that are too small to be a priority at a larger provider, the RLS network provides the ideal combination of responsive service and scalability," RLS Chief Investment Officer Tom Casey said in a release. "There are multiple opportunities to invest capital for new facilities, acquisitions, and other growth initiatives with our regional partners and their customers."