Potter Electric gains lines from Amseco buy

The company buys the assets of Amseco, gets fire and security product lines
Monday, November 1, 2004

ST. LOUIS- For the first time in more than a decade, Potter Electric Signal Co. is growing its product line through an acquisition, buying fellow fire product manufacturer American Security Equipment Co., a business also known as Amseco.
The acquisition expands Potter Electric’s reach beyond the fire alarm control panel, sprinkler and vault security market. It provides Potter Electric with horn/strobes, speakers, cameras, magnetic contacts and other security products.

“It really expands our fire and security product lines,” said Sean Heskett, director of marketing and new business development for Potter Electric. “It helps us diversify from fire sprinkler products being the dominant group at Potter.”

Potter Electric bought Amseco in September from Kobishi Electronics, a Japanese company that formed a Kobishi America division in 1977 to distribute products to the North American market. The purchase price for the Carson, Calif., company was not released.

Company officials declined to provide revenues for Amseco, but officials from Potter Electric said it served 1,200 customers in North America.

Yutaka Odaware, former president of Amseco and now vice president, fire and security market development for the company, said the sale to Potter Electric provides the company with additional financial resources. He said it was also important to find someone to run the company for the future.

“It’s time to move on and give it to somebody else,” said Odaware, who said he is not retiring from the business.

As of press time, Heskett said Potter Electric was in negotiations to retain several employees from Amseco.

Heskett said the transaction was structured so that Potter Electric bought the assets of Amseco. That includes access to the company’s 860 product variations. Amseco’s former parent company, he said, will continue to engineer and manufacture the Amseco line of products, which will then be distributed by Potter Electric.

Potter Electric notified Amseco customers about the change, sending letters to its 1,200 customers coinciding with the time the deal closed.

Now with the acquisition complete, Heskett said the plan is to retain the Amseco name, but also tout it as being part of Potter Electric.

Along with an office in California, Amseco also operated a facility in Pine Brook, N.J. Both locations will be consolidated into Potter Electric’s office in St. Louis after a several-month transition period.