Automated Logic Purchases Independent Dealers

January 16, 2006
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Gerry Hull, ALC President
Automated Logic Corp. (ALC), a unit of United Technologies Corp., recently acquired two of Comfort Systems USA's independent dealers - United Environmental Services, L.P. of Houston, and Comfort Systems USA of Twin Cities Inc. of Minneapolis.

Look for more dealer acquisitions in the months ahead, too.

"We anticipate additional acquisitions, but we're not in a rush," said Marty Applebaum, president of Automated Logic's Contracting Services division. ALC distributes and installs building control systems through a network of independent dealers in North America and internationally.

"Ultimately, we'd like to own a significant portion of dealers, especially in good markets and where opportunities for collaboration with other parts of Carrier and UTC are the greatest."

In the eyes of Automated Logic, the controls market is very broad and can be best served through a number of channels: integrated Carrier solutions through Carrier's existing network, as well as ALC-based automation systems involving enterprise-level applications through ALC branches. "That said," said Applebaum, "we're also committed to maintaining a strong, independent dealer network."

MILESTONE

These two Comfort Systems USA businesses have represented ALC products within their respective geographic areas for nearly 20 years. United Environmental Services is ALC's largest dealer.

"These acquisitions are an exciting milestone for ALC," said Gerry Hull, president of ALC.

"These are outstanding dealers with excellent leadership teams and impressive customer satisfaction records, and they share ALC's employee-focused culture.

"Going forward, these Automated Logic branch offices will have the support to continue to grow in their traditional business and collaborate with other parts of Carrier and UTC to promote and deliver complete HVAC and building solutions."

Ken Fox, president of Carrier's North American Commercial business, said the acquisition of ALC in May 2004 significantly enhanced Carrier's technology, competitive edge, and management resources in building automation. One of its biggest competitors is Johnson Controls, which acquired York last year.

"Now, the creation of these first ALC branches further strengthens our controls presence as we innovate and expand our products and services within the HVAC marketplace," said Fox.

According to Applebaum, the acquisitions represent the beginning of a branch-based turnkey controls channel for ALC "as a compliment to our independent dealers."

"The core business focus of these new branches remains unchanged, namely the delivery of world-class building automation solutions," added Applebaum.

"But they will also have the opportunity to more closely collaborate with their sister Carrier equipment and service offices to offer complete HVAC and controls solutions in their local market."

ALC designs and manufactures building automation and control systems primarily for HVAC and energy management applications systems. Its systems are installed in commercial office buildings, educational facilities, industrial plants, critical data facilities, health care facilities, government complexes, hospitality/entertainment venues, and retail locations worldwide. Its clients range from small, family-owned businesses to Fortune 500 corporations.

APPROVE THE MOVE

ALC announced its intention to acquire a portion of its independent dealers after its acquisition by Carrier less than two years ago. According to Applebaum, the company approached Comfort Systems USA last summer.

"They were a logical starting point, being both a very large Carrier customer as a national mechanical contractor and also the owner of several excellent ALC dealers," he said. "Both sides quickly saw this as a unique win-win opportunity that can fuel respective interests."

Wayne Gary, president of the Houston ALC branch, is looking forward to being under the ALC umbrella. "Not only are we fully supported as a branch office in a growing marketplace, we now have the ability to more aggressively compete in new construction markets that often seek a comprehensive or bundled set of offerings," he said.

Don Luhman, president of the Minneapolis ALC branch, said the transition from a factory-authorized to a factory-direct company is a very natural evolution.

"Our customers and employees see this as a real positive event, and we're eager to explore opportunities with other parts of Carrier and UTC," he said.

Publication date: 01/16/2006

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