GE wraps up IFS acquisition

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Sunday, June 1, 2003

NEWTON, Conn. - GE Industrial Systems finalized its acquisition of fiber optic technology company International Fiber Systems in late April, a deal expected to expand GE’s expertise in the transmission of video, data and signals over fiber optics.

“The way we look at it is fiber is the future,” said Darren Nicholson, vice president of marketing for the video systems group for GE Interlogix. “Fiber is the key component to linking systems together.”

Terms of the transaction were not released, but IFS, a privately held company, has reported double digit growth over the last five to seven years as the demand for fiber-based transmission systems increased.

Plans call for IFS to become a subsidiary of GE Interlogix, the company’s security division which includes brand names such as Kalatel, ITI, Casi, Sentrol, InfoGraphic Systems and Fiber Options.

For IFS, joining up with GE Interlogix will provide it with additional resources. “It will allow IFS to have access to a wider range of technology that wasn’t available to us before,” said Richard Malstrom, vice president of IFS. “They have an incredible resource of engineers.”

While GE Interlogix already offered fiber through its Fiber Options brand, IFS provides it with broader expertise. IFS is strong in the IT and intelligent traffic market, while Fiber Options has been known for its strength in the broadcast field.

“This is broadening our spectrum of what’s available to our customer,” said Jay Pinkert, a spokesman for GE Interlogix.

The acquisition follows a string of purchases by GE in the security market. The company entered the security industry a year ago with its acquisition of holding company Interlogix, one of the largest manufacturers in the industry. Since then, GE has expanded its reach rapidly through a number of key acquisitions, such as purchasing access control company InfoGraphic Systems and fire manufacturer Kilsen, which is based in Spain.

Security industry analysts have said that GE is willing to invest heavily in the market it enters to become the top player.