'Trendsetter' HSM makes dallas acquisition

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Saturday, April 1, 2006

JUPITER, Fla.--In its first purchase since industry analyst Michael Barnes pointed to HSM as a trendsetter and company to watch, HSM acquired Central Alarm Systems in Dallas, Texas, on March 3.
At the February Barnes, Buchanan & Mallon conference, Barnes said, "HSM is active right now, but I'd argue that they're the bellwether buyer. They set expectations."
Terms of the deal were not released. Tim Whall, president and chief operating officer of HSM, said Barnes "was just being complimentary." The only possible downside to being considered a trendsetter, he said, is that buyers' expectations about the price they can get from HSM could rise.
Whall said Central Alarm System, which brings with it 400 accounts and employees with technical expertise, will help HSM with its "density in Dallas."
"We have a lot of national accounts. The more techs I have, the easier it is to service them," he said.
At the March Security Growth conference, Jim Covert, chief executive officer of HSM, talked about HSM's plans to expand its sales force from 250 to 500, and to expand into all 50 U.S. states from its current 37.
Whall called these goals "right sizing." When they bought the company in June of 2004 from Honeywell Security, the sales force was stretched thin. HSM continues to hire personnel to fully staff all of its locations.
HSM has more than 175,000 customers. Its accounts are more than 50 percent residential, although its new sales since June 2004 have been 95 percent commercial, Whall said. The total revenue for the company is about 22-percent residential.

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L.Samuel Pfeifle and Erin Zwirn contributed to this report.