UTC/GE deal: Fire installers opine

Friday, January 1, 2010

YARMOUTH, Maine--There is no shortage of opinions on the UTC plan, announced in November, to acquire GE Security.

That GE sold the business came as little surprise to most. Joe Siderowicz, an industry veteran who worked at Honeywell and Simplex and now runs AfterMarket Consulting, said  GE dealers he talks to "knew something was afoot ... that a sale was inevitable." And while many love the GE product, and may like the GE brand, the loss of the brand is not a big deal. GE didn't own the brand long enough to "really take hold in the industry," he said.

Many dealers are eager for the deal to go through and settle in for the long haul with UTC.

Ed Bonifas at ADS in Illinois is a GE fire dealer. "It's an incredibly important line to us. I'm holding my breath here," he said.

Once the deal is completed, "we hope they prove to be dealer-friendly. They have their own integrators, I hope that doesn't develop channel conflict."

What about competitors? Potter CEO Bernie Lears said: "Every time a conglomerate comes into the industry and picks up a key player it's a positive for us. These guys [conglomerates] have their own agenda and they're not aligned with the customer. They get bigger and we get better."

Over at SimplexGrinnell, marketing director Chris Woodcock said they're following the news about UTC and GE, but "wouldn't want to speculate about the transaction.  We remain focused on providing our customers with the world-class solutions and service they expect from a longtime leader in the fire and life-safety industry."