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ABF Logistics, an ArcBest Corp. company, continued to expand by acquiring Texas-based Bear Transportation Services for $26 million.

The Fort Smith-based company announced the purchase of the truckload brokerage firm Tuesday. It is the second acquisition ABF Logistics has made in 2015 after acquiring Oklahoma City-based Smartlines Transportation Group for $5 million in January.

"The company is an excellent fit for ABF Logistics, as we believe the purchase will drive growth and profitability by combining our vision, brand and customer relationships with Bear's deep pool of experienced sales and operations team members," ABF Logistics President Jim Ingram said.

Bear Transportation was founded in 1982 and produces about $120 million in annual revenue, according to the acquisition announcement. The company has more than 140 employees based at the company's operational hubs in Plano, Texas, and Fayetteville.

Mike Loehr, Bear Transportation's principal owner, said the company was "pleased to find a strategic buyer with a strong culture and a clear growth path."

"Our employees and our customers will benefit from the resources and solutions ABF Logistics and the broader ArcBest organization will provide," Loehr said in a news release.

ArcBest continues to emphasize growth among its nontrucking subsidiaries, recently telling investors it plans for nearly half of the company's revenue to come from the group by the end of 2018. The subsidiaries -- ABF Logistics, Panther Premium Logistics, ABF Moving and FleetNet -- now produce about 29 percent of the company's revenue.

ABF Logistics was formed in 2013 and contributed $147.1 million in revenue for the first nine months of 2015. It was a 38.9 percent increase from $105.9 million in revenue for the same nine-month period in 2014.

An acquisition was no surprise after ArcBest Chief Executive Officer Judy McReynolds said during last month's investor presentation in New York the company would continue to "actively" search for targets.

ArcBest has outlined plans to spend between $150 million and $200 million in acquisitions by 2018.

"We have a significant growth opportunity and it would help us with scale in the business to make an acquisition," McReynolds said. "It would also help us with locations and people."

Business on 12/02/2015

Print Headline: ABF Logistics to pay $26M for truckload brokerage firm

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