Guard firm diversifies

Tuesday, November 1, 2005

ATLANTA--Looking to expand into the electronic security side of the business, Tri-S Security Corp. acquired The Cornwall Group of Miami, which provides monitoring services to both residential and commercial accounts in the Broward, Dade and Palm Beach County areas.
Rob Mills, chief financial officer for Tri-S Security, said the purchase of The Cornwall Group helps to diversify Tri-S, which through its Paragon Systems unit provides contract guard services for government agencies.
"This gives us an entry into the commercial side through an established player in Florida," said Mills.
He described The Cornwall Group, which offers guard services, investigative services, background checks and GPS, video and alarm monitoring, as "a little more diversified," than Tri-S. The Cornwall Group consists of two Miami-based businesses: Vanguard Security and International Monitoring.
Tri-S' Paragon Systems operates in seven states and was recently awarded guard work for the areas affected by Hurricane Katrina, noted Mills. Tri-S, with $31 million in annual revenues, employs about 800 workers, said Mills.
The Cornwall Group, with 1,500 employees and approximately $40 million in annual revenues, is also dominated by guard services with about 90 percent of its business focused on that sector.
However, The Cornwall Group's business isn't with the federal government, as is Tri-S's Paragon business, but rather is a mix of commercial, state and local accounts.
The alarm installation business is handled by a partner, explained Mills. "They provide the monitoring system and have a partner for the hardware piece of it," he said.
Mills said Tri-S would like to continue its expansion into electronic security. "I don't see us doing any true start-ups," said Mills of the company's growth strategy. "Instead we plan to buy companies in existence and grow organically."