Alarm Detection Systems acquires Norshore Alarm

Deal includes 2,100 accounts and about $80K in RMR
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Wednesday, June 6, 2012

AURORA, Ill.—Alarm Detection Systems, based here, has expanded its footprint in northern Illinois by acquiring Norshore Alarm Co. and its 2,100 accounts, ADS announced on May 29.

Bob Bonifas, founder and CEO of ADS, said the accounts are split roughly 50/50 between residential and commercial and total about $80,000 in RMR. ADS will keep Norshore’s office in Libertyville, Ill., and six employees—two salespeople, two service technicians and two installers—to support sales and growth in the region.

“They’re well trained,” Bonifas said of the employees. “This is the best acquisition we’ve ever done in terms of the quality of the records and all the detail.”

Bonifas said Ken Hohs, the owner of Norshore, is retiring from the business and called ADS with the possibility of striking a deal. Terms of the acquisition were not announced.

“I have known Ken and his wife for 30 years, so I was real interested because he’s a real class guy,” Bonifas told Security Systems News. “When we really looked at the accounts and did our due diligence, [we saw] he has excellent accounts. I’ve done acquisitions where we realized within two days that a third of the accounts weren’t tied into a central station. They got in financial trouble and changed from one central station to another, and they didn’t have phone lines they could throw over, so they had to reprogram them and they didn’t get a third of them done.”

Norshore’s accounts are based primarily in the northern suburbs of Chicago, including Lake County and the North Shore. Its services dovetail with what was already offered by ADS in the northern part of the state, including burglar alarms, fire alarms, CCTV and access control. ADS now has roughly 30,000 accounts, Bonifas said, which it monitors at its CSAA Five Diamond-certified central station in Aurora.

Bonifas said the 50/50 split between Norshore’s residential and commercial accounts “is a good thing from our point of view,” citing increasing competition from telecoms and cablecos in the home market. But that doesn’t mean ADS will be focusing more on commercial accounts in the future.

“The most important thing about any acquisition is the quality of the accounts they have,” Bonifas said. “[Hohs] has a nice business compared to most of the little guys we buy. It is much more sophisticated. … There were no disappointments in this acquisition.”