Protectron heads West with another acquisition

Company targets three major markets in Canada for expansion
Sunday, February 1, 2004

MONTREAL - National installation firm Protectron made inroads in one of its target urban markets in December when it acquired a 20-year-old alarm company to add to its base of accounts in British Columbia.

With the purchase of Valley Alarms and its 4,000 accounts, Protectron grew its subscriber base in the greater Vancouver market to more than 10,000 accounts, part of a strategic plan to boost the company’s market share in Vancouver and two other metropolitan markets in Canada - Toronto and Ottawa. The company, which has sales of more than $60 million annually, monitors more than 24,000 accounts in British Columbia and more than 170,000 accounts in Canada.

“These areas we have clearly identified as regions where we want to get a larger account base,” said Daniel Demers, president of Protectron. “These are also prime spots that we’d like to target for acquisitions.”

Not only was Valley Alarms strategically located, but Protectron officials said the company was known for its solid base of accounts, according to Patrice De Luca, vice president, sales and marketing for Protectron.

“The customer base is very good quality,” DeLuca said. “We expect fairly low turnover with these customers.”

Valley Alarm’s 25 employees will be retained by Protectron, but the company’s central station location in Vancouver, which was opened in 1990, will be closed. The operations of that facility will be consolidated into Protectron’s existing central station, also in Vancouver, Demers said.

For Valley Alarms management, the decision to sell was based both on market conditions and a close business relationship between Protectron and Valley company officials.

“To grow (the company) to the next level, it would take a lot of capital and seven days a week of working,” said Kelly Breaks, former owner of Valley Alarms. “We finally found in Protectron a company that had as good a customer service level as we did.”

Breaks said he planned to leave the company after a three-month consulting period to develop GPS monitoring software for central stations.

Protectron, which has completed several small acquisitions in Quebec and Toronto in the last few months, will focus now on strengthening the Protectron name in its target areas and making a concerted effort to boost organic growth through sales in those areas as well, De Luca said.

To assist in the Western Canada market, the company has hired a new regional manager, Paul Bowron, who was most recently British Columbia manager for Chubb Canada.