AAA Alarms seals its largest acquisition

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Friday, April 1, 2005

CALGARY, Alberta - AAA Alarms expanded its reach in Calgary in early March with the purchase of Reliable Alarms, a residential and commercial security provider based here.

AAA Alarms added approximately 5,300 mainly residential accounts through the deal and it is the largest acquisition the company made since it launched in 1962.

According to Randy Williams, general manager of AAA Alarms, the company is actively looking to increase its grasp on the Canadian security market and the buy of Reliable attributed to that goal.

“We are trying to grow over northwestern Canada,” Williams said. “This deal allows us to double our presence within Calgary.”

But those areas are not all AAA Alarms is looking at in terms of strategic growth. Williams said the company is looking for acquisition opportunities across a number of provinces, but looks to grow in its existing markets first and foremost. Following this strategy, the company experienced double digit growth.

“We’ve grown almost 40 percent in the past year,” Williams said. He declined to state how many accounts the company handles at this time.

And those numbers are due in part to the aggressive growth strategy its parent company, Manitoba Telecom Services, spearheaded. MTS purchased AAA Alarms in 1998, after the company was privately owned for nearly 43 years, and infused capital into the company.

“Since we’ve had the funding from MTS, we’ve been able to focus on growth,” Williams said.

And focus they have. The company - its portfolio is comprised of 70 percent residential accounts and 30 percent commercial - completed three acquisitions in 2004 alone - adding the assets of Scott Security System and Bragg Creek Security Services in Alberta, and Compuscan Protection Inc. of Manitoba in December 2004.

A significant percentage of the 16-employee staff from Reliable Alarms is expected to join AAA Alarms, although the office in Calgary will eventually be moved into AAA Alarms’ other branch in the city. The accounts will also be transferred - they are currently being monitored at a third-party central station.

“We will, over time, be moving them to our central station,” Williams said. AAA Alarms’ monitoring station is located in Winnipeg.

The company, which has four locations in Canada, expects the transition of accounts to be smooth and already is looking forward to other opportunities.

“For the remainder of the year, we’re really trying to grow organically and focus on acquisitions,” Williams said.