Exploration cruise and travel company Lindblad Expeditions has finalised a merger with investment firm Capitol Acquisition Corporation.

The deal will allow the company to embark on “strategic acquisitions,” according to its boss.

Shares in the renamed Lindblad Expeditions Holdings are due to start trading on the NASDAQ stock market in the US from today (Thursday).

Lindblad works in partnership with National Geographic to run marine expeditions to promote conservation and sustainable tourism around the world.

President and chief executive, Sven-Olof Lindblad, said “Completing the merger with Capitol and entering the public markets represents an important and exciting milestone for us.

“The equity capital and public currency from the merger, together with funds from our recent debt financing, give us significant resources to capitalise on the substantial demand for our expeditions by expanding the fleet and opportunistically seeking accretive strategic acquisitions.

“With this capital and a strong balance sheet, we are confident in the long-term growth prospects for our business.”

Capitol chairman and chief executive, Mark Ein, said: “With its well-established brand, long-term National Geographic partnership, deep management experience and strong track record of growth in this very attractive sector, Lindblad is exactly the kind of compelling long-term investment opportunity that we were looking for.”