Ringing in Broadview Security at the NYSE

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07/02/2009
I was on the subway early yesterday morning on my way to Wall Street to watch Bob Allen and eight employees ring the opening bell of the New York Stock Exchange in celebration of the launch of Brink's Home Security's new name: Broadview Security. I haven't been to the Exchange for a long time, but I knew I was in the right place when I saw, above the entrance, a huge banner that said Broadview Security. Things have changed considerably since the last time I visited. That was years ago, back in the days before electronic trading. What I remember most was a lot of people yelling and people waving pieces of paper. Last time, there wasn't heavy security to get in the place, and I most definitely didn't get to eat breakfast in the boardroom at the Exchange. It's quite a room, with a stained-glass skylight roof, a big ole vase, which someone told me was from Czarist Russia, and the biggest boardroom table I've ever seen. It's giant. I had a chance to meet in person a few key people like Bob Allen, Gary Samberson (VP investor relations), Steve Yevich, (CFO), Shawn Lucht (SVP, strategy and corporate development). While everyone knows what a valuable brand name Brink's has been, the executives were talking up the benefits of losing the word 'home' from their brand name. They've already expanded their commercial business quite a bit, and they expect to expand it more.Here's a story I wrote about that in April, Bob Allen said commercial makes up about five percent of overall revenues, but accounts for about 10 percent of new installs. Now Michael Dan (CEO of former parent company, The Brink's Company) has been talking about making acquisitions in the commercial space on earnings calls for as long as I can remember. Will Broadview, which is debt-free and flush with cash, finally follow through? Don't hold your breath. As one insider said, laughing: "We've been acquisition-free since 1983!" Both Shawn Lucht and Bob Allen told me that Michael Dan was right--they've been looking all along, they just never found the right fit. Shawn and Bob say they're still looking, but the fit's got to be perfect--the right company, technical capabilities, footprint and price. On the resi side, look for Broadview to introduce interactive services--email and PDA alerts from home, the ability to remotely program your home alarm system--in the near future. They're testing and retesting systems, they say, but the introduction is imminent. They're also looking at video surveillance for the home, but they're cautious because it's got to be easy for the installer and homeowner, reliable and, most important, not too expensive. Notice a theme here? Easy does it for Broadview Security. I also had a chance to talk to some of the eight employees who were on the podium with Bob Allen for the bell ringing. Dennis Stricklin of Best Security in Little Rock said he's excited about the name change. Dennis has been a Brink's dealer for 10 years, and like most, he was worried about losing the Brink's name initially. He's changed his tune over the past several months though, and now he's fired up about the new brand. Dennis Strinklin is planning to expand his company's commercial services, and believes the new brand will help him do that. (Commercial accounts for about five percent of his business now, but he'd like to have it be about 25 percent in the future.)