Sweetwater makes largest purchase yet

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Monday, December 1, 2003

HOUSTON - A security holding company growing with acquisitions has made its fourth and largest purchase to date, picking up Apex Security in Glenwood Springs, Colo.

The acquisition gives Sweetwater Security Capital five locations in Colorado and 4,500 residential and small commercial accounts, boosting the company’s overall account base to about 7,000 accounts, according to Donald Bresina-Hawkins, chairman of Sweetwater. Apex also added a central station, located in Glenwood Springs, to Sweetwater’s fold, the holding company’s first monitoring station. The purchase price of Apex was not released.

Sweetwater, which has bought such companies as North American Security Alarm in Dallas and Security Installation Services here, selected Apex not only for its account base, but also for its geographic reach and platform from which to grow.

“Our core business strategy is to buy and build, make a strategic acquisition and expand organically off that acquisition,” Bresina-Hawkins said. In Apex’s case, the combination of a quality account base, low customer attrition and a low cost of servicing the accounts were attractive aspects that fit well into Sweetwater’s plans of growing the company in Colorado and nationally.

Industry reports had suggested that Integrated Alarm Services Group, the newly public parent company of wholesale central station Criticom International, was one of the financial backers of the Apex Security acquisition. But Bresina-Hawkins said that officials at Sweetwater, which has backing from many private investors, were not at liberty to discuss their identities. IASG officials could not be reached by press time.

Like Sweetwater’s other acquisitions, Apex Security will retain its name for the time being, but “we expect that we will at some point operate (the acquired companies) under one brand name,” Bresina-Hawkins said.

The Apex acquisition also brought up Sweetwater’s employee base to 85, although Apex’s chief executive officer, Marc Powell, will serve only on Sweetwater’s advisory board and on a consultant basis. Powell said in a statement that Apex will use Sweetwater’s access to both financial and management capital to grow the business.