Assa Abloy buys Security Metal Products

Deal draws attention to relationship between door openings and access control
Tuesday, August 24, 2010

CULVER CITY, Calif.—How much thought do doors and frames get as part of the comprehensive security systems you’re designing? For Stockholm-based access giant Assa Abloy, doors and frames are the foundation on which access control is built—hence its acquisition this week of Security Metal Products, a maker of high-security custom commercial doors and frames based here.

SMP is a $20 million firm with 150 employees and seven regional offices. Its products, a mix of blast-resistant, bullet-proof, and sanitary door and frame solutions, are manufactured in Oklahoma and Mexico.

Thanasis Molokotos, head of the Americas division of Assa Abloy and EVP, said in an interview with Security Systems News the specialized doors are “something that complements our door and frame portfolio.” Doors and frames might not be as sexy as the latest access control technology or video surveillance, Molokotos said, but “we have a strong interest in doors. We view the frame as an integral part of having a secure access point.”

The installation of these doors and frames, he noted, is complex and Assa Abloy is also glad to have a connection to the value-added reseller channel that gets SMP’s products to market. “They are more than just distributors,” he said. “They get involved in the whole project management and the engineering of the opening. The frame is really where the access control meets the building.”

Molokotos said the SMP brand would remain market-facing. “All the acquisitions that we make,” he said, “the brand that we acquire gets married with the Assa Abloy brand ... We are a very thoughtful acquirer. We don’t just buy companies and then completely change their character. Right now we don’t have plans to change anything. They are a known brand and that’s important to why we bought them.”

Paired with the company’s acquisition of British lock firm Paddock this spring, this buy is an indication that Assa Abloy intends to continue to be active in acquiring firms as the economy remains sluggish.

“The recession does impact us,” Molokotos said, “just like anyone else, but that doesn’t really make us stop with our plans, whether it’s acquisitions, or any kind of growth-related activities.”

However, he said, the company’s focus on door openings and access control will remain tightly focused. “We’re not a diversified company that’s involved in all kinds of industries,” he said, “and that gives us a very long-term focus, a long-term view of the industry and where it’s heading.” (For more Molokotos thoughts on where the industry is heading, see his advice to integrators here.)

While he wouldn’t speculate on technologies or capabilities the company would like to add to its portfolio, “there are always new things that pop up, and we always seek them ... we’re always scanning the landscape for technologies that we haven’t thought of. We always look for those things.”