Extreme CCTV buys Forward Vision CCTV

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Friday, September 1, 2006

VANCOUVER, British Columbia--Extreme CCTV, a manufacturer of active-infrared surveillance equipment, in July completed its acquisition of United Kingdom-based Forward Vision CCTV, for the equivalent of roughly $8.8 million.
Forward Vision designs, develops and manufactures intelligent mechanical pan/tilt/zoom cameras. The flagship product is the company's Mic1-400, sold mainly in the United Kingdom for city surveillance and transportation applications.
The intent, said Extreme chief executive officer and president Jack Gin, is to merge Extreme's active-infrared night vision with Forward Vision's PTZ mechanical control, creating what the company feels would be a unique set of surveillance capabilities. However, "there's a whole combination of synergies with the group," Gin said." Like us they're very engineering oriented, but they've also got a great balance sheet, albeit smaller then ours." He also praised their sales channel, which he said includes a number of London embassies, the London Underground and a number of applications used by municipalities. "They are a proven entity in the UK," he said.
"Furthermore," he continued, "this isn't any old PTZ. This is a very rugged mechanical system with stainless steel precision. There's no rubber belts in this thing." Forward Vision's cameras can be submerged, in fresh as well as salt water, and the company also makes a camera that can withstand explosions and bullets fired by a 9mm handgun. "And, above all that," he said, "they've got the same philosophy as we do: optics first. This is a PTZ camera, where the lens is behind a flat window that is designed for optics. Every other bubble dome is forced to look through a curved window. And it's not easy to change the optics of that curved window. We, because our window is so small and flat, can use different types of lens materials to meet our optics objectives."
Gin said Extreme expects to retain virtually all of Forward's employees, including specifically the company's three founders, who Gin characterized as leading engineers, "who want to keep inventing things."
"If there were a security engineering hall of fame," Gin said, "these guys would already be there": Martin Willis, a mechanical systems designer with 30 years in the business; Peter Dobson, who has built all the electronics to go with the mechanical systems; and software developer Richard Markham.
Extreme expects to bring Forward's technology to its resellers, as Forward doesn't have much market penetration beyond the UK. Of particular note, said Gin, would be the Moondance, which employs a gyro stabilization device that can, for instance, stabilize the picture coming from a camera on an unmanned ship, eliminating the roll, pitch and yaw.
This goes to Extreme CCTV's central mission, he said, of acquiring the best possible picture for a security system, and the acquisition of Forward Vision, "really accelerates our goal to be a leading, if not the leading, surveillance company that caters primarily to the security industry as an engineering based technology provider for surveillance optics."
Broken down, Extreme will purchase all outstanding shares of Forward Vision for $3.8 million in cash, $2.7 million in non-interest bearing notes, and $2.3 million in Extreme shares, based on a July 17 closing price of $2.52.