Crédit Mutuel Equity acquires minority stake in Highlight Motor Group

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By Ted Liu

Crédit Mutuel Equity, the North American private equity arm of Crédit Mutuel Alliance Fédérale, has invested $55 million in Highlight Motor Group, an Ontario logistics, transportation and warehousing company led by Kirk Kalinitchenko.

Concord, Ontario based Highlight Motor Group offers a multitude of transportation, warehousing and distribution services for both the Canadian and U.S. markets. It manages a diverse trucking operation which includes more than 700 pieces of transportation equipment.

photo credit: Highlight Motor Group

News Release

Crédit Mutuel Equity invests $55 million in the capital of the Ontario transportation company
HIGHLIGHT MOTOR GROUP The partnership will accelerate the group’s North America growth strategy

Crédit Mutuel Equity, the North American private equity arm of Crédit Mutuel Alliance Fédérale, a major banking group in France, is proud to announce its partnership with Highlight Motor Group (“HMG”), an Ontario logistics, transportation and warehousing company led by Kirk Kalinitchenko. As an influential minority shareholder, Crédit Mutuel Equity intends to actively support HMG in its continued growth in the very dynamic North American market. Crédit Mutuel Equity has invested $55 million of capital in a dual-purpose transaction: above all, a legacy transaction for the majority shareholder, it will also finance an ambitious development plan.

A key transportation market in Canada

In recent years, North America’s sustained economic growth has boosted international trade and freight flows, thereby significantly increasing the demand for trucking services. With the exception of shipments by pipeline, 55% of the total value of Canada’s exported goods is transported by road.

Highlight Motor Group, a high-performance company

HMG specializes in advanced niches, such as temperature-controlled shipments and transportation of hazardous products.

“Our company is growing rapidly and we welcome a leading minority shareholder. It was important for us to join forces with a reliable investor who shared our long-term vision, and this partnership will allow us to accelerate our expansion in North America. In this project, Crédit Mutuel Equity has demonstrated a real understanding of our strategy of serving customers by offering undeniable quality, while sharing the large Highlight Motor family’s passion for our business,” said Kirk Kalinitchenko, President &CEO of Highlight Motor Group.

“Kirk founded HMG at the age of 25, starting out in the transportation industry as a driver/owner-operator of a single truck. His dedication, field experience and leadership have enabled HMG to become a dominant player in the North American transportation and logistics market over the past decade, with the strongest growth in Canada according to the Profit 500 ranking,” stated David Dickel, Managing Director of Crédit Mutuel Equity in Canada.

About Highlight Motor Group

Highlight had steadily increasing consolidated sales of $120 million in 2018, with a fleet of over 430 late-model, well-equipped tractors and over 800 galvanized trailers. The Company is based in Concord, Ontario, and also has facilities in the United States (New Jersey, Los Angeles and Chicago). Highlight uses state-of-the-art fleet management technology (cargo sensors, tire-pressure monitoring, tracking tools, etc.) to optimize transit, while monitoring driving times and reducing the risk of accidents.

About Crédit Mutuel Equity

Crédit Mutuel Equity is the private equity subsidiary of Crédit Mutuel Alliance Fédérale and carries out venture capital, growth capital and buyout activities.
Crédit Mutuel Equity supports business leaders at all stages of their companies’ development, from seed phase to buyout, by providing them with the means and the time required to implement transformational projects. Crédit Mutuel Equity brings together a network of over 350 business leaders and entrepreneurs who share similar convictions and can benefit from one another’s experience, no matter the nature of their projects. Using its own funds (€3.0 billion), Crédit Mutuel Equity makes investments tailored to the time horizons and growth strategies of the companies in which it invests, whether in France, Canada, the United States, Germany or Switzerland.
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Highlight Motor Group, represented by Kirk Kalinitchenko and Eugene Netanel


CIC Capital Canada Inc., represented by David Dickel and Léa Perge

Counsel for the Purchaser:

WeirFoulds LLP (“WF”), Ryan Filson, John Pandell, Adrian Howard and Shawn English

Counsel for the Vendor:

Miller Thomson LLP (“MT”), Kevin Refah, Robert Stewart, Max Spearn, Deven Rath, Eric Dufour and Erin Elias


BDO Toronto, Ryan Farkas and Pras Kayilasanathan

Due Diligence:

MNP, John Caggianiello, Samuel Latham and George Jimas

For Crédit Mutuel Equity
Jennifer Lee