New owners, new HQ for Sonitrol Corp.

Firm moves to Pa., consolidates divisions
Monday, November 1, 2004

ALEXANDRIA, Va.- Armed with new owners and a growing business, Sonitrol Corp. is shedding the old and moving into new headquarters in Berwyn, Pa.

The move comes nearly a year after the security provider was sold to three private equity firms for $125.5 million. It had been under Tyco International’s umbrella since 1996.

Todd Leggett, senior vice president with the organization, said the change was brought on by a desire to consolidate corporate functions handled from multiple locations.

“The new owners looked at the functions and saw there was a lot of duplication,” Leggett said.

For instance, both the Virginia and Dallas offices had an accounting division, which were streamlined into one.

‘It was a logistical move,” Leggett said. “We tried to find efficiencies in places where we had existing infrastructure.”

The Virginia-based accounting group has disbanded, according to Leggett. A few employees in other divisions have transferred, but the majority have not, either due to personal reasons or the fact that their position was eliminated. There were 27 people working in Alexandria, out of those 25 are now unemployed.

“It’s one of those hard developments,” Leggett said, who transferred to the Pennsylvania office.

Even with the consolidation, Leggett said it is not a sign that the company or its business opportunities are downsizing.

“We are definitely not shrinking,” he said. “Our franchise base is growing. The company is growing. A revitalization of Sonitrol has taken place.”

When the business was purchased by Wachovia Capital Partners, Carlyle Venture Partners and Spire Capital Partners in April, company officials said they would look to expand the franchise network and ramp up its product developments. On the product end, Sonitrol has now moved away from its manufacturing ties with Tyco and is working with CTS Corp. of Londonderry, N.H. to manufacture its products.

As for the franchise network, Fran Rickenbach, executive director with the Sonitrol National Dealers Association, said the company has just added two new franchise operations to its dealer base, bringing the dealer count to approximately 130.

At a mid-year dealers’ meeting in early October, Rickenbach said, announcement that the Virginia headquarters had closed was met with support.

“Our dealers are united in their support in the direction that Sonitrol Corp. and the new management has taken,” she said.

New management is currently putting pieces into place to maintain Sonitrol’s place in the market and officials said the move to consolidate will not affect those initiatives.

“Although Sonitrol has a great 40-year history, our attachments are not to places,” Rickenbach said. “Our focus is on the future.”