Canadian companies bundling up

UE acquires Protectron: Says customers will warm up to their union
Thursday, September 1, 2005

TORONTO--There are more similarities than initially meet the eye between a company that helps protect homes and one that keeps them warm, says the chief executive officer of Protectron, a full service security company recently acquired by Union Energy, a home heating company.
"It may come as a surprise to some, but when you look at our missions, you see that we're both in the peace-of-mind business," said Daniel Demers, president and chief executive officer of Protectron.
UE Waterheater Income Fund, through its Union Energy operating unit, purchased Protectron for CDN 135 million ($109 million) on July 15.
The companies plan to look at ways to bundle their services and take advantage of each others' strong customer bases--Protectron's base in Quebec and UE's Ontario base.
Roger Rossi, president and chief executive officer of Union Energy, explained how this can happen. "Protectron's security business also involves monitoring. Union Energy can take that expertise and use it to our customers' advantage by monitoring equipment in homes that are high-energy use. This will save our customers' money."
Montreal-based Protectron has 176,000 residential, commercial and wholesale subscribers in Quebec, Ontario and British Columbia.
Union Energy services more than one million natural gas and electric water heaters and provides home heating, ventilation and air conditioning products throughout Ontario.
While there are no immediate plans for name changes or office relocations, these possibilities are currently under consideration.
Changes are unlikely at Protectron operations in Quebec, where two-thirds of its current business takes place, Demers said.
Through its 2002 acquisition of the Canadian division of Protection One, Protectron gained a foothold outside of Quebec and access to 40,000 accounts in Ottawa, Toronto and Vancouver.
However, co-branding here is likely. "There may be an opportunity for co-branding to improve Protectron's penetration of home security in Ontario. We already have high penetration and high name recognition here," Rossi said. Additional Protectron offices or sharing UE offices in Toronto may also be considered.
Protectron has successfully integrated with another company previously. In fact, Demers credits Protectron's association with Videotron, the second largest Canadian cable company, with helping Protectron become a household name in Quebec. Protectron and Videotron were associated from 1987-2000, Demers said.