Big Tex Trailer Mfg. Inc. announced that an agreement has been reached to acquire CM Trailers (Contract Manufacturer, L.L.C.) and its affiliate, S&H Trailers.

Big Tex is the leading utility trailer manufacturing company in the United States, has a work force of over 700 and produces trailers from three separate manufacturing facilities in Texas - one in Mt. Pleasant and the other two in the Midland-Odessa area.

CM, based in Madill, Oklahoma, is one of the nation's largest and most diverse producers of trailers and related products in the industry, and has a work force of over 400. CM Trailers manufactures an all steel line of horse, stock, cargo, and utility trailers, aluminum exterior steel frame horse and cargo trailers, all aluminum horse and stock trailers, and a complete line of truck beds.

With annual revenues of CM Trailers and S&H Trailers exceeding $50 million from the manufacture of trailers and truck beds, coupled with Big Tex Trailers' consolidated revenues of $175 million from its trailer manufacturing and parts distribution, this acquisition will produce current annual revenues that exceed $225 million.

“This is really a pretty big deal in the trailer industry,” said Ricky Baker, president and CEO of Big Tex Trailers. “It’s certainly not the biggest deal that’s ever been done, but it’s pretty sizable.

“We kind of look at our deal differently than others. We’re trailer companies deeply rooted in the trailer industry. We’re not merger and rollup acquisition guys. Our strategy and plan is totally different. We’re not looking to roll something up in a few years. We’re trying to build a solid foundation for continued growth in the trailer industry.

Baker said the merger will diversify the product lines and have a huge impact on Big Tex’s dealer network. Big Tex is the top-selling utility trailer in the U.S., largely due to its dealer network. The 350-plus independent Big Tex dealers represent the most diverse line of standard and custom utility trailers available and have provided them to governments, consumers, and industry throughout the country.

“We’ll be the first major supplier in the industry that offers a full line of everything,” he said. “Our strength and the future of everything is built on the foundation of the dealer network. We will be able to offer a wide range of everything. We manufacture a full line of open, utility, equipment, construction and auto transport trailers. You name it, we build it.

“This expands us into the horse, livestock, cattle and aluminum trailer areas, along with the truck bed and truck accessories business. Between CM Trailers’ dealer network and ours, it’ll offer both a wider range of product to carry and to offer to customers.”

Said Ronald Jackson, president and CEO of CM Trailers, “I have known Ricky Baker for many years and have witnessed the growth and performance of Big Tex Trailers. As a vital new member of the Big Tex family, I have complete confidence that CM Trailers will maintain its history of growth and that the CM name will continue to stand for innovative products and a high quality trailer produced by great people."

Baker said Ron and Kay Jackson have agreed to stay on board for the next year in order to ensure the smooth transition and future success of the merger. He said everything will remain the same.

“The first fear everybody has in a deal like this is, ‘Oh, my gosh. What are they going to do? Are they going to shut it down? Relocate it? Fire me? Send their people in?’ ” Baker said. “We’re trying to relieve all those anxieties. It’ll be business as usual. CM is an excellent company with great products and people. They know what they’re doing. The last thing we’re going to do is go in there and change that. Our objective is to build on it.”

Some of the many accomplishments bestowed on both companies and their respective leaders: CM Trailers has been recognized in multiple years as an Inc 500 Fastest Growing Privately Held Company, and Jackson was not only a founding member of the National Association of Trailer Manufacturers (NATM), he has served multiple terms on the Board of Directors and has also been twice elected to terms as president of the association. In 2001, Baker was honored with being selected as Ernst & Young's Southwest Entrepreneur of the Year and has also served two terms on the NATM Board of Directors.