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Tampa global shipping, logistics companies Boasso, Quala to merge

Jun 07, 2023Jun 07, 2023

Two large Tampa shipping and logistics companies have reached a deal to merge, forming a single company with around 3,400 employees worldwide.

Boasso Global and Quala — which both specialize in the transportation of bulk liquids, from whiskey and beer to commercial cleansers — on Thursday announced that they would join forces in the first half of 2023 in a deal between the private equity firms that own them.

Investment titan KKR, which owns Boasso, will purchase shares of Quala from Advent International, which bought the company in 2016.

"Our organizations not only have a strong commercial relationship, but also shared cultures of delivering excellence, innovation and safety for our customers," Quala CEO Scott Harrison said in a statement. "This combination with Boasso and new investment from KKR will allow us to advance our position as a leading provider of container cleaning and maintenance services while continuing to seamlessly meet our customers’ needs."

The deal will vastly expand both companies’ footprints and capabilities, Harrison said. Quala's specialty is cleaning and maintaining bulk liquid tanks, containers and railcars; it has some 1,800 employees in 119 offices across North America. For Boasso, which has operations in North America and Europe, the deal will bring in-house cleaning and maintenance capabilities for its liquid container shipping network.

In a statement, Boasso CEO Joe Troy called the merger "a rare opportunity to put together two Tampa-based, complementary businesses."

"The combination of Boasso and Quala makes perfect strategic sense," he said. "This transaction will enhance our ability to deliver safe, compliant and best-in-class services to our ISO (International Organization for Standardization) tank container services and meaningfully expand our access to more locations across North America to better serve their needs."

Quala was founded by a commercial tank cleaning company in 1986, and spun off into its own company in 2009. Boasso became its own company in 2021, when its parent, Tampa-based Quality Distribution, was acquired by railroad giant CSX.

Terms of the deal, which is subject to regulatory approval, were not disclosed.