Somerset buys NJ fire company

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

BEDMINSTER, N.J.—Somerset International Group on Dec. 5 named industry veteran Robert Ryan vice president and general manager of its newly acquired subsidiary, Fire Control Electrical Systems in North Plainfield, N.J.
Somerset, a technical holding company based here, acquired FCES on Nov. 9 for $1 million. Of that, $350,000 will be used to reduce debt. The two former FCES principals, Vince Bianco and Opie Brinson, will receive the balance of $650,000.
Somerset, based here, focuses on security-related products and services. It owns a personal alarm systems company, Security Systems, and another fire company, Meadowlands Fire Safety and Electric Supply Company, in Clifton, N.J.
John Adiletta, chief executive officer of Somerset, said his company targets undervalued security companies in three areas: prevention/detection, response and reporting. The addition of Fire Control means a “wider geographic reach [covering all of New Jersey] and product breadth within the focus of detection and prevention.”
Fire Control uses Honeywell products and Meadowlands uses GE products, he said.
Somerset became a public company through a reverse merger in 2004. “And we’ve been on the acquisition front since then,” Adliletta said. Somerset currently has a run revenue rate of $7 to $7.5 million. He aims to achieve $50 million in revenue within three to five years, through organic growth and acquisitions.
Somerset does not disclose revenue projections at the subsidiary level, but Adiletta said he’s interested in companies that “have growth potential of between 10-15 percent annually.”
Fire Control’s new general manager, Robert Ryan, said he started in this business 26 years ago as a field service technician. “I’ve been a service manager, sales rep and branch manager,” he said. He was previously employed at Fire Control for 10 years. During that time he oversaw the expansion into new markets.
Fire Control has about 150 to 200 commercial accounts. It has 14 employees, although at one time it had 20, and Ryan said he’s already working on hiring sales and technical staff.
“John [Adiletta] has tasked me with the restructuring that needs to be done,” said Ryan, “so that we can attain the level of business we were at before, rebuild the foundation, and then continue to grow.”
“The primary focus and specialty of this company has been fire alarm and the fire detection market, although we have other offerings such as security and CCTV, and we’ve done video systems. We plan to strengthen our core offering first and then look at growing the other offerings,” Ryan said.