Kenco Security acquires Anchor Alarms

Purchase strengthens Montana presence
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Tuesday, January 18, 2011

BILLINGS, Mont.—Kenco Security and Technology, an electronic security services company based here and providing services in Montana and northern Wyoming, recently acquired Anchor Alarms of Kalispell, Mont.

Dirk Bauwens, president of Kenco, said in a statement that Kenco already had a presence in northwestern Montana and welcomed the chance to acquire a company in its “home playing field.”

He told Security Systems News: “Our goal, I guess, is don’t let an opportunity pass by and that’s exactly the way we looked at this.”

He declined to discuss terms of the Dec. 1 acquisition of Anchor, but said the addition of the company’s office, four employees and approximately 800 mostly residential accounts would help Kenco grow both its commercial and residential sides.

Kenco, started in 1973, has about 65 employees and 10,000 customers, 60 percent of them commercial and the rest residential. The company designs, sells, installs and services burglar and fire alarm systems—about 20 percent of its business is fire—and its other services include access control and CCTV.

In addition to Kenco’s office in Billings, where is also has a 24-hour monitoring center, it has offices in Bozeman, Helena, and Great Falls, Mont., as well as in Cody, Wyo.

The owners of Anchor Alarms, founded more than 25 years ago, are retiring, Bauwens said. He said Kenco will retain the company’s employees who will continue to work out of their former Anchor office, which will be now be Kenco’s new Kalispell office.

The Kalispell office will also be strengthened with support from Kenco’s other offices, the company said.

Anchor was about 90 percent residential, Bauwens said. He said Kenco’s clients in the Kalispell area have been largely commercial—franchise chains such as Applebee’s and Famous Dave’s—and also included some residential clients who live in other cities where Kenco has offices but have secondary homes in Kalispell.

He said Kenco now will be able to offer to its customers in the Kalispell region “the company entity of larger complex integrated systems with the support of the rest of our branches.”

Anchor’s fire business had dwindled in the past few years because the Kalispell area was hard hit by the economy, Bauwens said, but he said Kenco plans to “get back in that market.”

The acquisition was the second one for Kenco in 2010. Early in the year, it bought a small company in Billings, Big Sky Security, with about 85 customers, Bauwens said.

He said the owners of that company and also of Anchor Alarms decided to sell to Kenco because of its good reputation.

He said the owners told Kenco “they would still have to live in the communities and visit with the customers that they had and had built a relationship with, and they felt we were the best company to continue with that.”