UPDATE 1-Canadian trailer maker Manac to explore sale

Mon Mar 30, 2015 9:52am EDT
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(Adds share price move, background)

TORONTO, March 30 (Reuters) - Manac Inc, the largest manufacturer of truck trailers in Canada, said on Monday its board has begun a strategic review to explore the possibility of a sale or merger, sending its shares up 7.5 percent in early trading.

Saint Georges, Quebec-based Manac said it plans to continue normal business activities through the strategic review process, and that its business operations will be unaffected. The company makes flatbeds and other specialty trailers such as grain hoppers and logging trailers that are sold across Canada and the United States.

Manac said it has engaged Stifel as its financial adviser in connection with the review process. The company said there can be no assurance the process will lead to a transaction.

The company began operations in the mid-1960s and went public in 2013. Two of Quebec's largest fund managers, Fonds de Solidarité and Caisse de depot et Placement du Quebec, together own about 30 percent of Manac's shares, according to Thomson Reuters data.

Manac, with a market capitalization of C$42 million ($33.2 million), has been growing steadily in recent years. Its backlog more than doubled in 2014 and reached a record C$173.5 million as of Dec. 31.

In June last year, Manac bought Penticton, British Columbia-based Peerless, a maker of specialized trailers and chassis for the energy, mining, forestry, logging and construction sectors, for C$14.75 million ($11.7 million).

Shares in the company were up 66 Canadian cents at C$9.40 on the Toronto Stock Exchange on Monday.

($1=$1.26 Canadian) (Reporting by Euan Rocha; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama, Nick Zieminski and Peter Galloway)