Centex exits security installation market

The company sells most of its branches to Ranger American but retains monitoring
Friday, February 1, 2002

DALLAS-Centex HomeTeam Security exited the security installation business in December, selling the majority of its branches to Ranger American based in San Antonio.

The sale of the installation division comes more than six years after parent company Centex Corp. first entered the security market. The transaction, however, did not include the company's 75,000 customers or its central station here. The purchase price was not released.

"We decided to focus more specifically on our pest management business and our chemical lawn care business," said Robert Swartz, chairman and chief executive officer of Centex HomeTeam Services. "They require less upfront capital to acquire the customer."

For Ranger American, the deal was of particular interest not just because of the additional branches it picked up, including inventory and vehicles, but also for the employee base.

"Eighty-percent of the driving factor was the people," said Ron Bowden, president of Ranger American. Approximately 90 percent of Centex HomeTeam Security's field sales and installation employees were offered positions with Ranger American.

The employees also bring with them experience on the mass market front, a market not heavily tapped into by Ranger American which has built a reputation in the new home construction market.

"By putting the mass marketing arm with that, it gives us a balanced arm in the market so we're not tied to a recession and peaks in the building market," said Bowden.

Bowden bought 10 of Centex HomeTeam Security's branches, including ones in Dallas, Austin, San Antonio, Houston, Atlanta and Jacksonville, Orlando, Tampa, Fort Myers and Naples, Fla.

Some locations, such as where Ranger American did not have an existing branch, will remain open while others will be consolidated. "It made a good match to incorporate their business where we had offices," said Bowden.

His company now operates 14 branches, with locations in Texas, Florida, Georgia, North Carolina, Indiana and Arizona, and employs 1,100 people.

Centex sold one location to Ranger American of Houston, owned by Wayne Hayes, while Prewire of El Paso, Texas, bought the Albuquerque, N. M., branch.

As part of the sale, Centex and Ranger American of Houston signed a five-year agreement where Ranger American will install security systems in Centex's new homes. The partnership is not new, however, to the two companies since they became familiar with each other by forging a similar alliance years ago.

Bowden said Centex originally wanted to buy his company when it first entered the security market, but that deal never materialized. However both companies were able to maintain a good working relationship over the years, enabling the two to come together on this deal.