Smart deal brings business to market

Thursday, September 1, 2005

CORTE MADERA, Calif.--Smart-tek Communications, a systems integrator based in Vancouver, British Columbia, found itself under new ownership this spring when it was purchased by Royce Biomedical, a technology company with a medical background looking to build a business in security.
The acquisition of Smart-tek was the first deal for Royce Biomedical in this market. The company hired a new board of directors and management staff in December 2004, charged with revitalizing the company.
Donald Gee, chief executive officer at the firm, said the Royce Biomedical name merely came with the shell company and it always intended to move into the security space. (See related story on page 19)
Perry Law, president of Smart-tek, said the deal allows the firm to expand its footprint.
"It's not that we need money, we don't need money for the business," Law said, "We are self-sufficient and are looking at opportunities to expand east and south."
Areas Law said the cities the company would like to move into include the province of Alberta and into the U.S. cities of Seattle and Portland, Ore.
"Our existing clientele asked us to go out in these areas and work with them on specific projects," Law said. "The key thing is to move forward in a controlled manner so we don't get caught up in being owned by a public company."
The integrator, which will continue to operate as a separate entity, will also look to grow through acquisitions, in the security industry and those companies in fields related to security.
Law said Smart-tek, which employs 18 and has one office, has experienced an influx in projects within the new construction sector due to Vancouver's growing population. He noted that the company averages about 20 jobs per year that are valued at more than $100,000 and roughly the same amount of jobs that come in under $100,000.
Gee said Smart-tek was a smart choice to acquire for Royce Biomedical as its first acquisition in this sector.
"They are the dominant player in this market space in Vancouver," he said. "They have about half the market share in contract security services, have fantastic management and are profitable. We thought it would be a great stepping stone and build in that expertise."