ADS active in acquisition space

It recently acquired a Tennessee company and more buys are planned
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Wednesday, May 29, 2013

NASHVILLE, Tenn.—ADS Security’s purchase this month of Chattanooga, Tenn.-based CrimeWatch Security is just the start of ADS’ acquisition plans for the year, according to Patrick Ritter, ADS VP/controller.

“We have plans to purchase at least one large enough company that it will be a new platform, a new market for ADS, and you will see several other fold-in acquisitions throughout 2013 as well,” Ritter told Security Systems News.

Super-regional ADS, which is based here, has a growth plan of adding a new office each year, ADS president and CEO John Cerasuolo has told SSN. In addition, he said, the company continues to make fold-in acquisitions.

CrimeWatch, the purchase of which the company completed May 16, is such an acquisition. ADS already has four offices in Tennessee: its headquarters here and branches in Chattanooga, Jackson and Knoxville.

Ritter said CrimeWatch’s customers are being “folded into our Chattanooga office.” He declined to say how many accounts CrimeWatch had but said ADS now has “about 6,000 total customers in that Chattanooga, North Georgia, East Tennessee market.”

He said about 90 percent of CrimeWatch’s accounts were residential and that the acquisition opens new opportunities for ADS in its existing market.

“This was a traditional burg and fire company. They didn’t do a whole lot with advanced services, ... so that’s where we think we can really position ourselves well with this customer base [because] we offer a lot of those advanced services,” Ritter said. “This will be a good opportunity to upgrade a lot of these customers that didn’t have those options.”

In addition to ADS’ suite of security technologies, former CrimeWatch customers also will have access to its CSAA Five Diamond monitoring center and a customer portal with online bill pay, the company said.

CrimeWatch had been in business for almost two decades and the founders wanted to retire, Ritter said. The son of one of the owners is joining ADS as a technician. “He was the one out running service calls, [so] the customers knew his face,” Ritter said.

CrimeWatch was known for high quality service and a loyal customer base, Ritter said. “That was one of the great things about this acquisition … they had a good, stable, seasoned customer base that had really low attrition,” he said.

At the end of 2012, ADS' RMR was just over $2 million—up 7.4 percent from 2011—and it had nearly $33.9 million in gross revenue, with nearly 69,000 customers and 263 employees. Ritter said that the company projects increases in all those numbers in 2013. He said it expects to have RMR of $2.2 million, $35 million in gross revenue, 72,000 customers, and 280 employees.

The company expanded into Mississippi last year and, in addition to Tennessee, also serves five other states in the Southeast: Kentucky, Alabama, Georgia, Florida and South Carolina. It has 15 branch offices.

Cerasuolo said in a prepared statement: “ADS continues to expand our market share across the Southeast by looking for companies with a tradition of outstanding service to their customers.”