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Private Equity Firm Auxo Buys M/G Transport

Auxo Investment Partners, a private equity firm based in Grand Rapids, Mich., announced December 6 that it has acquired M/G Transport Services, a leading dry cargo barge transportation and logistics company. Terms of the transaction were not disclosed.

Founded in 1967 and based in New Orleans, M/G carries more than 5 million tons of non-hazardous dry bulk cargo each year. Its territory stretches from Houston to Mobile, Ala., and the mouth of the Mississippi River upstream as far as Baton Rouge, La. The company has a fleet of 250 barges with an average age of about 13 years, and 16 employees who will remain with M/G, including its veteran leadership team, the announcement said.

“As we celebrate our company’s 50th anniversary, we’re pleased to begin this partnership with Auxo,” said Jack Lordo, who will continue as M/G’s CEO. “We’ve been extremely impressed by the credentials and collaborative approach of the veteran investors and business operators who founded Auxo, and it will be a great fit for our company and a seamless transition for our customers and our staff.”

“We’re excited to work with M/G and its accomplished team, led by industry veteran Jack Lordo, as we support the company’s existing customers and explore new growth opportunities,” said Auxo Managing Partners Jeff Helminski and Jack Kolodny, in a joint statement. “Our investment criteria focus on North American companies in the value-added distribution, manufacturing, industrial and business service sectors, and M/G matches the criteria well.”

Lordo, who started in the river industry with Wisconsin Barge Line 45 years ago, has been with M/G for about 25 years. He said the company no longer hauls strictly coal as it once did. “If anything, I’d say the one commodity we don’t transport is coal. We move a lot of petroleum coke out of the Houston area, and other general dry bulk material.”

Lordo said that although there seem to be “more barges than work right now,” M/G has a long history that was attractive to Auxo. “One of the reasons M/G is still around after 50 years is that they have a history of reinventing themselves,” he said.

“It would seem like the industry is pretty soft right now, and maybe it’s as soft as it’s going to get.”

John Binion, another long-standing expert in the barge industry, will also play a key role as Auxo’s operating partner and a board member, the statement said. Binion was the director of operations for Houston-based Horizon Maritime, before its acquisition by TEPPCO Partners, and previously worked for L&R Midland and Blessey Marine Services. His uncle owned a tank barge operation in Houston named Binion Marine Service.

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