GE folds in Edwards

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Sunday, May 1, 2005

WILTON, Conn.--In a move that illustrates the security industry's shift to a finite number of behemoth systems providers from a smaller field of fragmented players, GE Infrastructure, Security in March completed its $1.39-billion cash acquisition of Edwards Systems Technology from SPX Corp.
Through its purchase of the fire detection and building life safety systems company, GE realigned its enterprise division, moving it to EST's new facility in Sarasota, Fla., from Boca Raton, Fla., and renaming the organization Engineered Systems.
As the purchase price suggests, the EST deal is an important one for GE and its role in the $5 billion fire detection and life safety market. Additionally, the deal included related technology providers that include Dukane Communication Systems, a provider of voice and data communications systems.
For SPX, a Charlotte, N.C.-based publicly held provider of thermal equipment and services, flow technology, test and measurement products, the net proceeds enable the company to pay down debt and repurchase equity.
"The fire technology that came in with Edwards was very complementary with what we had," according to Jay Pinkert, director, marketing programs and communications, GE Infrastructure, Security. "We're serious about being the top provider in that space."
EST strengthens the company's engineered systems division that is targeted at commercial clients that include access control, enterprise software and video, industrial signaling and fire detection, sound and communication.
The EST acquisition is similar in nature to a transaction GE completed last year. In that deal, GE acquired InVision Technologies, a supplier of explosives detection systems for U.S. civil aviation security, and bundled it into its homeland protection division.
"Our sense of the market and customers' needs are they are looking for platforms and products that are robust," said Pinkert. "Edwards helps us achieve that; it's a big step in that direction."
The EST brand will still be found on fire-related products; however, the EST corporate brand will no longer be used by GE.