A family-run tree company based in Portland expanded its footprint into Vermont on Friday when it closed a deal to acquire a company that also trims trees for utility companies.
Lucas Tree Experts, founded in 1926 and operating from Nova Scotia to the Carolinas, bought New England Tree Experts of Hardwick, Vermont, for an undisclosed amount. The Vermont company has changed its name to Lucas Tree and will be run by its former owners, Arthur Batson III, chief financial officer for Lucas Tree, said. The Vermont company’s employees will remain.
Ryan Molleur, president of the Vermont company and former co-owner with his brother John, said the acquisition will add more opportunities for career advancement, access to more comprehensive benefits and new equipment. The tree company, founded in 2003 by the Molleur family, has managed vegetation for utilities including Green Mountain Power, Vermont Electric Cooperative, Stowe Electric Department and Washington Electric.
Batson is the third generation in his family now running Lucas Tree, which has grown 50 percent in revenue over the past five years to $70 million this year. The acquisition will add $5 million to that as well as 50 employees to the current 500 at Lucas Tree. Almost half of Lucas Tree’s employees are in Maine.
Batson said the company aims to reach $100 million in revenue by 2026, its 100th anniversary in business. Virtually all of its business at 95 percent focuses on managing vegetation for utility companies, including Emera Maine and Central Maine Power. The remainder is residential and commercial business.
“Our work is very consistent in working for the power companies, because it is regulated,” Batson said of the regular tree-trimming schedules. “It’s year-round work in a lot of cases.”
Batson said the acquisition will allow Lucas Tree to tap into a new market, the distribution side of tree trimming in which the Vermont company specialized. Distribution tree-cutting is done along roadways with electric poles and wires strung along them. Both companies also perform tree-trimming in the high voltage transmission corridors.