Protection One May Be Sold, Faces Credit Crisis

TOPEKA, Kan. –  Protection One Inc. and Westar Energy, the electric utilities company that owns 88 percent of the security monitoring company, have both retained financial advisers to “develop strategic alternatives for Protection One, including the possible sale of the company,” a Westar statement said in February. Westar received an order from the Kansas Corporation Commission (KCC) in December 2002 to reduce its $3.6 billion corporate debt and separate its regulated utility operations from its unregulated interests in nonutility businesses, such as Pro One.

The security company is also getting involved in the commission’s investigations because decisions by the regulators could hurt Pro One’s credit agreements with Westar, as well as other financial and legal arrangements between the two companies.

Richard Ginsburg, president and CEO of Protection One, said the company’s biggest issue in separating itself from Westar is attempting to replace a $280 million line of credit that Westar had extended to the security company. A sale could also affect Pro One’s employees in Topeka, Kan.

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