American Alarm gets Riel

Monday, December 1, 2008

ARLINGTON, Mass.--American Alarm added density in southern New Hampshire with the acquisition, announced Oct. 21, of Windam, N.H.-based Riel Security.

“[This area] offers significant growth opportunity,” said Lou Sampson, CFO and COO of American. American has between 15,000 and 16,000 monitored accounts; this acquisition adds another 1,000.

“It’s a high-quality company with an account mix that’s similar to ours, 50/50 residential/commercial, with a significant portion of the commercial being high-end, complex integrated systems,” Sampson explained. The commercial accounts also include “quite a few regional multiple-location accounts,” a specialty of American Alarm.

Also as a result of the deal, Sampson said, “we are planning now to get more involved with the Honeywell First Alert Professionals program.” Riel has been a First Alert dealer; American has not been, previously.

Former Riel Security owner, Bruce Riel, will stay on in a leadership role, and “all of the other employees who wanted to stay” (five total) will join American’s staff of 135.

“You tend to find the customer base is stable when the owners stay on,” Sampson said. “That appealed to us.”

As part of the deal, American moved its southern New Hampshire operation, previously based in Manchester, N.H., to the Windham offices of Riel Security.

American Alarm has made “about 10 acquisitions of various sizes since 2003,” Sampson said. Its strategy is to acquire companies with the same account quality, geographic footprint (New England), and areas of business that American is interested in growing, including “residential, commercial, especially integrated systems on the commercial side, and fire.”

Acquisitions are “especially attractive,” Sampson said, if they’re located near one of American’s four offices: in Randolph, Auburn or Arlington, Mass., or in Windham, N.H.