Boasso Global buys tank container cleaning arm of Den Hartogh

25 April 2017

Boasso Global, an international tank container and depot service provider, has expanded its footprint in continental Europe with the acquisition of Netherlands-based Den Hartogh Cleaning. The move, which follows within a year of the firm’s acquisition of UK-based Isotank Group, adds facilities in three countries to its ranks.

Headquartered in New Orleans, Louisiana, Boasso is one of the globe’s larger tank container specialists. The firm, founded in 1985 in the US, operates with twelve locations in the United States, seven locations in the United Kingdom and locations in continental Europe. 

Following Boasso’s decision in 2015 to join Quality Distribution, North America’s largest chemical bulk logistics provider, the firm crafted an ambitious growth plan, in part leveraging its financial backing from Apax Partners (the acquisition was supported by funds from the London-based private equity investment group). As part of the expansion drive, Boasso picked up UK’s Isotank Group in the summer of 2016, adding seven locations throughout the UK (the firm’s headquarter is based in Redcar) and 270 professionals to its headcount.

Boasso Global | Den Hartogh Cleaning

Boasso Global | Den Hartogh Cleaning

“We are excited by the opportunity to expand operationally into the UK and European markets,” said Tony Morsovillo, President of Boasso America, at the time. Ten months down the line Boasso has again put its money where its mouth is – yesterday the company confirmed it has closed the acquisition of Den Hartogh’s European depot and tank cleaning services business, known as Den Hartogh Cleaning. Headquartered in Rotterdam, Netherlands, Den Hartogh Cleaning is with facilities in the Netherlands (Rotterdam and Dordrecht), France (Amiens) and Spain (Barcelona) one of Europe’s larger players in the field. The company specialises in tank cleaning, repair and depot services for the chemical and food industries.

“We are pleased to add the Den Hartogh Cleaning business to Boasso Global’s expanding network of terminals in Europe,” comments Morsovillo. “This high quality, state-of-the-art tank cleaning, repair and depot services business, is a perfect fit with the culture of customer-centric excellence that Boasso is known for. In concert with Isotank, this deal provides the ideal international platform for the continued expansion of our global footprint to meet the needs of our customers and the growing ISO tank industry.” 

How many people will transition as part of the deal has not been released by the firms. The integration roadmap will see Den Hartogh Cleaning transition to the Boasso Global brand.

Pieter Den Hartogh, Group Managing Director of Den Hartogh, says that the carve-out of Den Hartogh Cleaning is a move that provides both parties with an ideal solution. Under the new ownership, Den Hartogh Cleaning will be granted the opportunity to ramp its up its focus on cleaning and repair services and pursue accelerated growth. “We wish Boasso and the former employees of Den Hartogh Cleaning every success in this new endeavor,” he remarks. 

EY, Houthoff Buruma, IMAP Netherlands, Lexence

For Den Hartogh, the move is aligned with its strategy to focus on its core business, which lies in bulk logistics services to organsiations in the chemical, gas, polymer and food industries. The company has over 1,500 people globally, active in 30+ different locations. The family-owned business, which itself has expanded rapidly over the past few years, including through the acquisition of UK listed Interbulk in 2015, today boasts an asset base of 19,111 tank containers, 6,700 containers, 400 tank trailers and 530 trucks.


The transaction between the US and Netherlands-based companies was advised on by M&A experts of four professional services firms. EY provided buyer Quality Distribution with financial advisory support, while Houthoff Buruma, a Netherlands-based law firm, provided legal advisory. Seller Den Hartogh received financial expertise and transaction support from IMAP Netherlands, with Lexence granted the responsibility for the legal undertakings.


8 tips for successfully buying or selling a distressed business

18 April 2019

Embarking on the sale of a business is one of the most challenging experiences a management team can undertake. Even serial dealmakers acknowledge that the transaction process can be gruelling, exposing management to a level of scrutiny and challenge through due diligence that can be distinctly uncomfortable.

So, to embark on a sale process when a business is in distress is twice as challenging. While management is urgently trying to keep the business afloat, they are simultaneously required to prepare it for scrutiny by potential acquirers. Tim Wainwright, an experienced Transactions Partner with Eight Advisory, says that this dual requirement means sellers of distressed businesses must focus on presenting their business in a way that supports buyers in identifying value, whilst simultaneously being open about the causes of distress. 

According to Wainwright, sellers of distressed businesses should focus on eight key aspects to ensure they are as well prepared as possible:

  • Cash: In a distressed situation cash truly is king. Accurate forecasting and day-by-day cash balances are often required to ensure any buyer is confident that scarce cash reserves are under proper control. 
  • Equity story and turnaround plan: Any buyer is going to want to understand the proposed turnaround strategy: how is the business going to enact its recovery and what value can be created that means the distressed business is worth saving? Clear presentation of this strategy is essential.
  • The business model: Clear demonstration of how the business model generates cash is required, with analysis that shows how financial performance will respond to key changes – whether these are positive improvements (e.g., increases in revenue) or emerging risks that further damage the business.  Demonstrating the business is resilient enough to cope with these changes can go a long way to assuring investors there is a viable future.
  • Management team: As outlined above, this is a challenging process. The management team are in it together and need to be consistent in presenting the turnaround. Above all, the team needs to be open about the underlying causes that resulted in the distressed situation arising.  A defensive management team who fail to acknowledge root causes of distress are unlikely to resolve the situation.

8 tips for successfully buying or selling a distressed business

  • Financing: More than in any traditional transaction, distressed businesses need to understand the impact on working capital. The distressed situation frequently results in costs rising as credit insurance becomes more difficult to obtain or as customers and suppliers reduce credit. Understanding how these unwind will be important to the potential investors.
  • Employees: Any restructuring programme can be difficult for employees. Maintaining open communications and respecting the need for consultation is the basic requirement. In successful turnarounds, employees are often deeply engaged in designing and developing solutions. Demonstrating a supportive, flexible employee base can often support the sale process.
  • Structuring: Understanding how to structure the business for the proposed acquisition can add significant value. Where possible, asset sales may be preferred, enabling buyers to move forward with limited liabilities. However, impacts on customers, employees and other stakeholders need to be considered.
  • Off balance sheet assets: In the course of selling a distressed business, additional attention is often given to communicating the value of items that may not be fully valued in the financial statements. Brands, intellectual property and historic tax losses are all examples of items that may be of significant value to a purchaser. Highlighting these aspects can make an acquisition more appealing.

“These eight focus areas can help to sell a distressed business and are important in reaching a successful outcome, but it should be noted that it will remain a challenging process,” Wainwright explains. 

With recent studies indicating that the valuation of distressed business is trending north. With increased appetite from buyers who are accustomed to taking on these situations, it is likely that more distressed deals will be seen in the coming months. “Preparing management teams as best as possible for delivering these will be key to ensuring these businesses can pass on to new owners who can hopefully drive the restructuring required to see these succeed,” Wainwright added.