Potter expands fire division with three acquisitions

It buys Harrington, Evax and CPG product lines
Tuesday, October 20, 2015

ST. LOUIS—Potter Electric Signal Company has acquired three product lines in the fire alarm industry: Harrington Fire Alarm, Evax Systems and CPG Signals. The deals allow Potter to expand its fire system, voice product and mass evacuation lines and into the “explosion-proof” market.

“We are very, very excited,” Dave Kosciuk, EVP of the manufacturer’s fire/security division, told Security Systems News. “All of our dealers wanted us to move up-market. Mission accomplished. We listen to our customers.”

Potter has always grown organically, he said, but the recent purchases, which will nearly double Potter’s customer base, “open up vertical markets for us,” he said.

The deal had been “a year in the making,” he said. Potter financed the deal on its own.

The acquisitions “take our technology to the next level,” he said. By incorporating the acquired products, Potter will expand its fire system and voice product lines through the Evax high-rise and low-rise voice evacuation capabilities and mass notification systems.

“That was a definitely a hole in our product line,” Kosciuk told SSN.

Evax will remain intact as a product line.

“CPG is a nice niche market” in the “explosion-proof” commercial and industrial fire and mass notification market, Kosciuk said, as is Harrington’s fire alarm system products for a variety of vertical commercial and institutional markets. Harrington product lines include conventional and addressable fire control panels, smoke detectors, annunciators, duct detectors and more.

In incorporating the technologies of the acquired products, Potter will expand its fire system and voice product lines, providing customers even greater access to the markets it serves, Kosciuk said.

Peter Binkley, president of Evax Systems Inc., said in a prepared statement, “Of all the offers to purchase Evax we’ve had over the years, Potter is the only company whose principles line up with our own. With Potter, we are excited at the opportunity for Evax to continue to thrive as a part of an independent company that values customer relations and quality product. … Evax Systems will remain functionally intact as an operating unit and will continue to work with all of our partners to deliver audio for a wide array of applications.”

In his prepared statement, Dick Eisenlauer, president of Harrington Signal Inc., said, in part, “Potter has demonstrated standards such as providing an excellent work environment and focusing on outstanding customer service; leaving us certain that our customers will be in good hands.”