API adds three centrals to list

Monday, August 1, 2005

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz.--Making good on last year's promise to expand rapidly, A.P.I. Monitoring added three central stations to its roster in recent months, putting it well on its way to hit 150,000 accounts before the end of the year.
The company acquired Denver, Colo.-based Dispatch Services on June 1, purchased the monitoring station from Quebec-based Protoguard Surveillance in late July and signed a long-term lease for the former Burnaby, British Columbia location of Counterforce in May.
The latest deals bring the total amount of central stations within the last year to five. In September 2004, A.P.I. opened its first U.S. office here and also launched a site in Winnipeg, Manitoba.
"We want to be a local station," explained Howard Garr, president and chief executive officer at the company, on the decision to open new offices. "We found dealers, for the most part, want to be monitored locally."
Plans for the next two years are similarly ambitious. Garr looks to open three more central stations within the next 24 months. On the drawing board are new locations in Buffalo, N.Y., Chicago and a yet-to-be determined location in the Midwest. By 2007, he hopes to have a central station in Miami as well.
"Our entire plan is to open up local central stations across the United States, as others are closing we are expanding," said Garr.
A.P.I. purchased Dispatch Services for an undisclosed price. Former owner Karen Tatman remains with the company after the acquisition as vice president of sales for the western region. A.P.I. added 7,000 accounts to its portfolio and buoyed the central with new services, as a result of the deal.
"All the stations offer the same services," explained Lewis Jacobson, dealer sales manager at A.P.I., on the company's strategy when integrating new acquisitions. "All have GPS, video, two-way voice and we're also getting into Voice over Internet Protocol emergency service."
Counterforce is in the process of basing its monitoring in the Toronto area. The company is a division of Chubb, which was acquired earlier by United Technologies Corp.
A.P.I. gained a stronger foothold in Canada as a result of the deal, as well as some equipment and former staff.
"Their staff was available, they had several choices and decided to join A.P.I.," said Garr. "When we acquire local people, we leave them the way they are and don't move them."
In the Protoguard deal, owner Paolo Vincenti retained control of the corporate name, which will still be used for marketing purposes. A.P.I., however, owns the central station. Vincenti started the central in 2002, and he still controls systems integrator Hautech Security Systems.
"We've been around since 1983 and we're able to finance this ourselves," said Garr. The company holds no debt and has experienced 15 percent growth year after year, he said.