UTC gets into mist

Fire & Security arm to acquire Finnish fire-suppression co. for $338m
Sunday, July 1, 2007

FARMINGTON, Conn.--UTC Fire & Security announced May 14 that it will pay approximately $338 million plus net cash of roughly $21.6 million to acquire Finland-based Marioff Corporation, a provider of high-efficiency water mist fire suppression systems.
Marioff expects 2007 revenues of $135 million and operating margins in the mid-teens. UTC officials are not available to comment further on the deal, which is subject to regulatory approvals, until after the expected closing date at the end of June.
In a statement, UTC Fire & Security president William Brown said that this acquisition will help UTC expand sales worldwide. He noted that water mist suppression applications are a fast-growing segment of the global fire-safety industry, driven by regulations, environmental considerations and the effectiveness of the technology.
Victoria Valentine, director of product standards for the National Fire Sprinkler Association, said the basic concept of mist systems is that they use smaller water droplets.
"As the water expands and turns to steam it takes up a lot of physical space and suffocates the fire," she said. "It uses the same scientific principles as a regular sprinkler system ... [but it is] used in areas where you need to use less water," Valentine added.
The application is used, for example, on ships, where there are concerns about weight. Marioff's signature product, HI-FOG, is also used in land applications, including commercial, public transportation and infrastructure development sectors.
Marioff has 350 employees. Petteri Saarinen, president of Marioff, and the rest of the senior management team will remain with the company.
"I am confident that this acquisition offers a superior platform for Marioff's continued global growth," Saarinen said in a statement.