Harris Williams & Co. Advises Total Quality, Inc. in its Sale to Forward Air Corporation

March 7, 2013

Harris Williams & Co., a preeminent middle market investment bank focused on the advisory needs of clients worldwide, announces the sale of Total Quality, Inc. (TQI) to Forward Air Corporation (Forward Air).  TQI is a leading provider of maximum security, temperature-controlled transportation and logistics services to pharmaceutical and life sciences manufacturers and distributors in North America.  TQI was a portfolio company of HCI Equity Partners (HCI).  Harris Williams & Co. acted as the exclusive financial advisor to TQI.  The transaction closed on March 4, 2013, and was led by Frank Mountcastle, Jason Bass, Jershon Jones and Jeff Kidd from the firm’s Transportation & Logistics (T&L) Group.

“With a strong market leadership position, compelling industry fundamentals and great prospects for continued growth, TQI represents a truly unique platform in the transportation and logistics services sector serving the pharmaceutical industry,” said Frank Mountcastle, a managing director at Harris Williams & Co. and co-head of the firm's T&L Group.  “This transaction is a terrific example of a continued trend in transportation and logistics M&A that we are seeing – strategic acquirers seeking opportunities in industry-focused, niche transportation and logistics services, such as pharma logistics.”

Founded in 1992, TQI utilizes industry-leading temperature–controlled equipment, 24-hour real-time monitoring and tracking technology, and layered security features and practices to provide its customers with a level of service that is unmatched in the industry today. In addition to its core pharmaceutical services, TQI            also provides truckload and less-than-truckload brokerage transportation services.

HCI is a private equity firm that invests in growth oriented industrial product and service companies. The members of the firm partner with owners and managers of industrial companies, with a focus on assisting with operational improvements and supporting growth initiatives. The HCI Equity team has extensive experience in both private equity investing and operational leadership. Eight of ten principals have been chief executive officer, president or chief financial officer of an industrial company during their careers. Their combined experience enables HCI to have a deeper understanding of industry sector trends and business fundamentals, and enhance performance of the companies in which it invests. The team focuses on building solid relationships with proven management teams and supporting them in the execution of their strategies.

Forward Air operates two business segments, Forward Air, Inc. and Forward Air Solutions, Inc.  Forward Air, Inc. is a high-service-level contractor to the air cargo industry providing time-definite ground transportation services through a network of 84 terminals located on or near major airports in the United States and Canada. It provides these services as a cost-effective alternative to air transportation of cargo that must be delivered at a specific time but is relatively less time-sensitive than traditional air freight or when air transportation is not economical.  Forward Air Solutions, Inc. is a provider of pool distribution services. Pool distribution involves the consolidation and shipment of several smaller less-than-truckload shipments to a common area or region. Once at the regional destination, the loads are deconsolidated, then grouped with other shipments with common delivery points and delivered in a very precise, time-sensitive manner. Our pool distribution network consists of 19 terminals within the mid-Atlantic, Southeast, Midwest and Southwestern United States.