Aigis created from Philips manufacturing unit

An executive buyout led to the creation of camera housing maker Aigis Mechtronics
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Monday, April 1, 2002

WINSTON-SALEM, N.C.-A former manufacturing unit of Philips Communication, Security and Imaging Inc. that integrates cameras and housings and makes camera enclosures, pan and tilt, and mounts has been bought out by management.

The buyout closed in late January, four months after Philips CSI said it no longer was interested in owning the division that makes camera housings. The purchase price was not released.

"Philips decided they are still interested in the products, but they no longer wanted to manufacture the products," said Patty Katsaros, vice president of sales and marketing and one of five executives that bought the company. "Instead of selling to an outside company, they gave the managers a chance to purchase it first."

Venture Capital Solutions helped finance the deal, a Winston-Salem based private equity fund, by investing $1 million. Additional financing was secured with bank loans and private equity, said Katsaros.

The company has since been renamed Aigis Mechtronics LLC and will focus on the OEM market by customizing housings for cameras, said Katsaros.

Now that the company is no longer associated with Philips, company officials anticipate an advantage when it comes to inking more OEM relationships.

"It helps from the standpoint that we want to focus on being an OEM supplier to the security industry," said owner Keith Todd, president and chief executive officer. "As part of an affiliate of a large company in the security industry, it's hard for people to do business with you. As an independent, it's easier to attract additional OEM customers."

Already Todd said Aigis has two OEM relationships with camera manufacturers, with a few more in the works. While the security market will remain a focus, the company also does machine work.

Though Aigis has undergone a major ownership shift, little has changed about the company which has been in Winston-Salem for 25 years. All of the company's 80 employees have been retained and will continue to work out of the same site, three buildings that measure 47,000 square feet on five acres now owned by Aigis.

"We did not have to layoff anybody, which was great," said Katsaros.
"We were a manufacturing unit, but we were pretty autonomous from Philips. We managed it here locally."

The three other owners of Aigis Mechtronics are Brad Kauffman, Don Myers and Joe Fleming.