TOKYO -- Japan's Secom has acquired a fellow security services provider in Northern Ireland -- a move that will spread its footprint across all of the United Kingdom.
Local unit Secom PLC purchased all outstanding shares in mid-tier player Scan Alarms & Security Systems for several hundred million yen. Founded in 1982, Scan Alarms is based near Northern Ireland's capital of Belfast. Its main business includes sales of security equipment like surveillance cameras, as well as related services.
Secom has long focused on the U.K., hoping to cash in on its large market. In 1991, the Japanese security services giant bought London-based Carroll Security Group, followed by the 1995 acquisition of Ambassador Security Group. Its existing operations cover most of the U.K., leaving only Northern Ireland. Even amid concerns over the planned British exit from the European Union, Secom decided on the investment in light of brisk demand for unmanned security services, its strength.
In the U.K., security services companies often staff their business customers with guards on regular shifts. But many business clients have become increasingly concerned about high labor costs. Secom is strong in low-cost unmanned services in which staffers are dispatched only in an emergency -- a practice that is quickly gaining traction.
Another trait of the U.K. market is that small and midsize companies offer security services in their respective localities. Secom seeks to tout its ability to offer affordable, unmanned security service across the region to win large orders from major financial institutions, among others. The company now has over 50,000 contracts in the U.K. and is No. 3 among those offering camera-based unmanned security services.
After solidifying its U.K. foothold, Secom aims to expand into other parts of the European Union where demand for unmanned security services is on the rise. The plan is to initially cultivate the needs of U.K. companies operating elsewhere in Europe.
Secom launched its overseas business in 1978 and now operates in about 20 markets including China.