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For ASG: Another year, another territory

For ASG: Another year, another territory Super-regional enters Louisiana market for first time, buys bolt-on in Charlotte

BELTSVILLE, Md.—ASG Security likes to expand into a new territory every year, and 2012 is no different. The super-regional made two year-end buys, entering Louisiana for the first time and beefing up its presence in North Carolina, ASG CEO Joe Nuccio told Security Systems News.

ASG on Nov. 16 acquired USA Fire & Burglar Alarm in New Orleans. The deal brought with it $180,000 in RMR and 35 employees. ASG also bought RSH Protection Inc. in Charlotte, N.C. That deal brought $70,000 in RMR.

Nuccio likened the purchase of USA Fire & Burglar to the December 2010 purchase of TnT Security in Oklahoma. While TnT was primarily residential, ASG has used it as a platform for growth into the commercial and government market in that region. Last year it acquired LV Systems in Oklahoma.

“I consider this the same kind of gem we found when we opened in Oklahoma, it's that great of an opportunity,” Nuccio said.

“[New Orleans is] a great base for us to really grow and develop. We love this area. It's a great customer base with very nice attrition characteristics,” Nuccio said.

Noting that Baton Rouge and Lafayette are within 60 miles, Nuccio said it's a place where ASG can do “what we do very well.” USA “[is predominantly residential] with some small business and good growth. We have the opportunity to continue to grow and also expand into other markets,” Nuccio said.

USA's owner, Brian Mahl, is retiring. Industry veteran Lou Sepulveda, who has been running the company since May, will run the Louisiana operation for ASG.

Sepulveda's resume includes launching ADT's dealer program in the mid-1990s and then taking it to 30 countries worldwide. He said Baton Rouge is “a very good market” that USA was eyeing before the acquisition. “With ASG we'll be able to do it earlier, probably in Q1 or Q2 of next year,” Sepulveda said.

“Lafayette could be served from the same office,” he said, adding that a move to that city would likely occur before the end of 2014.

Sepulveda said he is particularly excited about expanding the company's commercial business and called ASG's expertise in this arena “a huge plus.”

ASG closed on the RSH Protection deal a couple weeks before USA. This deal adds significant commercial business to ASG's existing Charlotte operation, said Ralph Masino, ASG CFO.

“Charlotte [before the deal] was 65 to 35 percent resi to commercial and this buy [RSH] is 65 commercial, 30 percent government and 5 percent residential,” Masino said.

It brings with it about 550 customers, including several NASCAR properties and some local and state government facilities, and 20 employees, “mostly technical, but we're getting some sales folks too,” Masino said. Roger Park, the former majority owner of RSH, will stay with the company.

“We ended 2011 with $7 million and will end this year with about $8 million in RMR,” Masino said. While these two acquisitions and some smaller buys contribute to the growth in RMR, “most of that growth has been organic,” he added.

Asked about plans for 2013, Nuccio said it's been the same “from day one: organic sales, looking for new channels and new markets to open up, maybe a contiguous market, maybe not. It may be boring that the strategy is the same, but at the same time, it seems to work.”


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