GE Fills Fire Systems Gap by Acquiring Edwards Systems Technology

WILTON, Conn. — General Electric’s (GE) Infrastructure unit has purchased fire detection systems manufacturer Edwards Systems Technology (EST) for $1.4 billion. GE says the purchase will position its security business as a leader in the fire detection and life-safety market. The acquisition, announced Nov. 15, is subject to regulatory approval and is expected to close in early 2005.

GE says it plans to combine EST’s technology and channel strength with GE’s other security offerings to provide an integrated systems solution. “It is a significant filling in of a gap we had in the enterprise integration market,” says Ken Boyda, president of GE’s security business. “We continually get asked when are you going to have an Edwards kind of fire systems capability.”

Security industry market expert Jack Mallon told Security Sales & Integration the purchase could help GE surge ahead of Honeywell as the top manufacturer of electronic security and fire products.

“It’s a further manifestation of GE’s commitment to the security spaces. This enables GE to break out and to be the dominant player,” says Mallon, publisher of Mallon’s Security Report. “GE, up until this acquisition, was on a compatible level with Honeywell.”

Edwards’ previous owner, SPX Corp., put EST on the market as a source of revenue in the wake of recent weakness in its earnings. Among the products manufactured by EST are the Genesis signaling, Signature Series detection and FireShield control panel products. EST was acquired by SPX in 1998 along with the rest of General Signal.


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