Guard service, electronic security apps to go hand-in-hand for Secure Solutions

Friday, October 1, 2004

ANNAPOLIS, Md. - Secure Solutions has begun building its security business, buying a guard company that will serve as a platform for future growth.

The company bought Cyclone Security, of Sargeant Bluff, Iowa, for an undisclosed price. The transaction gives Secure Solutions an instant presence in the guard market, with services provided at 30 locations across the country, $7 million in annual revenues and 400 employees.

“They had a good license foundation,” said Todd Pattison, president and chief executive officer of Security Solutions. “They’re licensed to do business in 24 states.”

Pattison was also familiar with Cyclone Security. Pattison and the former owner, Tim Shannon, at one time worked together as state police officers and then joined up again to get Cyclone Security off the ground. Pattison said the two had a gentleman’s agreement - if Shannon wanted to sell his business, he would sell it to Pattison.

The promise became reality in early July, more than a year after the two began the acquisition process. Secure Solutions closed Cyclone Security’s office in Sargeant Bluff and relocated its operations to Annapolis, Md.

White Peak Capital of McLean, Va. provided the capital for the acquisition, while Bank of America served as the primary and senior lender, and Allegiance Capital served as the mezzanine bank lender.

Tim Batchelor, managing director at White Peak Capital, declined to release how much financing the capital firm provided. He said the transaction marks the company’s first investment in the security market.

Now with Cyclone Security as part of Secure Solutions, Pattison said the plan is not only to grow the guard business but also add an electronic security component.

An acquisition of an electronic security company could come within the next 12 to 24 months, according to Jim Pitts, vice president of Secure Solutions. “Our hope is to diversify enough so that we can get some equality of both sources of revenue,” said Pitts.

But even with the addition of electronic security, Pitts expects guard services will continue to make up a majority of the company’s business.

In the guard market, the company’s focus is on working with clients who want to hire a company for on-site guard management and need 120 hours of guard service a week. Once hired to provide guard services at a facility, Secure Solutions hires guards to work as an onsite director, instead of opening a branch in that location.

Before it adds electronic security installation on its own, Secure Solutions plans to partner with an established systems integration firm to offer camera, access control and burglar alarm installation. That relationship is now being hammered out, according to Pattison, who hopes to have a partnership set up before the end of this year.

Batchelor expects Secure Solutions can quadruple in size within the first six months thanks to several guard contracts officials at the company are working on. By next year, that number could reach the $40-million mark, he said.