SWC acquires Richardson

Combined company reaches Indianapolis to Atlanta
Saturday, October 3, 2009

NEWBURGH, Ind.—Two established low-voltage integrators have combined with South Western Communications’ acquisition of Richardson Technology Systems, announced this week. The new combined company, to be called SWC-Richardson Technology Systems, has five offices stretching from Indianapolis to Atlanta and housing roughly 200 employees.

“It was contiguous to our existing territory,” said Todd Lucy, president of SWC-Richardson Technology Systems, of why Richardson was a good fit with SWC. “They were a long-standing dominant player in the market [Atlanta] that we had interest in.”

SWC was doing about 30 percent of its business in physical security, most of it in its corrections division. Joseph Ciotti, president of Richardson Technology Systems, said security accounts for about 15 percent of Richardson’s revenue. However, both of those numbers are growing. While both companies have strengths in the education and health care verticals, providing intercom systems, nurse call, and other low-voltage systems, “in any facility, the sophistication of the end user has increased,” Ciotti said. “They want us to interface to their existing wireless phones, their security systems, their DVRs; they want us to provide a solution that’s compatible to what they have or where they envision themselves going.” That, and the fact that “almost everything we do today is now IP-based,” has led Richardson to focus more on security business.

For SWC, “we started out not doing very much security work at all,” Lucy said, “and then, with the entry to the detention vertical it picked up, and now in health care and education it continues to grow.”

Lucy said SWC-Richardson would continue to look for opportunities to acquire, but “it would have to be the right situation, for sure.”

“Todd and I spent a lot of time talking about how the companies operated and what the value structure was,” Ciotti said, “to make sure that if and when we did this that it would have every opportunity to succeed. We’ve seen failures in plenty of mergers over the years, and we really feel like this has a great opportunity for success, more so than others in the industry.”