Comunale acquisition expands Emcor's network

Monday, January 1, 2007

NORWALK, Conn.--With the acquisition of fire protection company Comunale, Emcor joins the ranks of fire protection contractor giants SimplexGrinnell and APi Group, said Emcor president and chief operating officer Tony Guzzi.
A publicly traded Fortune 500 company that specializes in mechanical and electrical construction services, energy infrastructure and facilities services, Emcor acquired Comunale, which does about $120 million in revenues annually, in October. Terms were not disclosed.
"We had a substantial fire protection component before," Guzzi said. "This enhances our geographic and customer reach and it fits a lot of our operational charactistics ... it builds presence in a business we like a lot."
EMCOR likes the fire protection business, Guzzi explained, because it's a design and build business and it travels well. "Contractors can work in different parts of the country," Guzzi said, and "it has a nice after-market service and inspection business."
Further, bringing Comunale, "a leading fire-protection name, under the EMCOR banner, increases our fabrication capability and it also brings an interesting opportunity to grow the fire protection services business because of the platform Comunale has developed to service its national accounts business."
Comunale was, until the acquisition, a family business that started out as a local plumbing contractor in Akron. It grew to a 750-employee company with $130 million in revenues in 2005, said Sean Coustillac, vice president of service and inspection.
"The way it breaks down is $110 million in fire protection work and $20 million for the mechanical division [plumbing and HVAC]," Coustillac said. The service and inspection division is a major part of the fire protection department; it "will do about $20 million this year," he said.
Until two years ago, Comunale concentrated on sprinklers, fire extinguisher and backflow contracting. It entered the fire alarm business two years ago because of customer demand. "It's just a small part of our business, less than five percent," Coustillac said. "We saw an opportunity with our customer base [which is about 9,000 commercial customers]. A lot of them called us for fire alarm problems and we decided we could be a one-stop shop," he said.
Headquartered in Akron, Comunale has 13 branch offices in Ohio, Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Michigan. Its customers are spread across the country and include well known chains such as Borders Books and Toys R Us.
Comunale's national account business has a network of more than 1,000 service partners across the country who will respond to a service or inspection call for clients who are not near one of Comunale's branch offices.
Now that Comunale is part of EMCOR, that network just got much larger, Coustillac said.