Andrews International buys Garda's U.S. and Mexican operations

Los Angeles, Calif. -- In a move that now makes them the largest privately-held, American-owned full-service security provider in the county, Andrews International has announced their plans to acquire the U.S. and Mexico guarding operations of Garda World Security Corporation. The acquired assets include the uniformed security operations, along with strike security/asset protection and U.S. consulting and investigation divisions.

The price of the acquisition was around $44.25 million according to a statement issued by Garda.

One of the overriding factors in the acquisition was the chance for Andrews to establish a footprint in the government vertical market that comes with the Vance side of the acquisition. Garda World acquired Vance International from SPX Corporation back in November of 2005.

Headquartered in Centerville, Va., Garda/Vance brings to the table more than 20 years of global investigative expertise and government security consulting. Vance was among the pioneers in bringing comprehensive risk management to the C-level suite and making it a board-level issue.

"We are very unique as far as our full service capabilities go and this acquisition puts us among the leaders in this space," says chairman and CEO Randy Andrews, who with help from its leading investment partner, Audax Group, closed the transaction on June 2. This will add 14 offices and operations across the U.S. and abroad to Andrews' existing infrastructure.

"The government vertical was a big factor for us as well in pulling this deal together. We know Vance very well and we look to build even further on the full-service business model that has worked for them. We are very similar in our philosophies," Andrews admits. "There are some incredible opportunities to be had in the growing government market, plus the Mexican side of the business really has some very strong growth potential."

Andrews said that despite many recent reports of kidnappings in Mexico, the company is not dissuaded.

"With what is going on in Mexico in terms of kidnappings and murderers, there still are a lot of U.S. companies which are expanding their operations down there. We see a huge growth potential in Mexico."

Andrews stressed that the Garda acquisition was right in line with its strategy for strong organic growth mixed with aggressive acquisitions where they make sense and fit their security and risk mitigation profile. When Andrews International completes its merger with Garda it will restructure operations into six U.S. regions.

"We are inheriting a very solid management team, so we are excited about rolling everything into our operations [except Mexico]," explains Andrews. "More than ever in this economic climate we are committed to increasing capabilities and providing solutions that balance both business and security objectives, ultimately bringing value and efficiency to our clients' security programs."
Andrews International will be able to leverage its strengths in Mexico with this acquisition according to Randy Andrews, but plans to keep the Mexican management team of 14 years in place. "During all our acquisitions we have maintained a strong focus on our organic growth while still looking at other markets. The chance to expand into Latin America with a respected and experienced team is certainly an advantage for us."

Andrews also noted that the Garda/Vance operations in the United States will eventually be rebranded as Andrews International, but that with 14 years of the Vance brand name established in Mexico, the company has no plans to change the Vance name there.

The acquisition takes Andrews International from a company of about 7,500 employees to around 10,500 employees. According to CEO Randy Andrews, the acquisition doesn't duplicate many positions, especially since Andrews International is very keen to keep the existing Vance management team. If there is any duplication of duties, he said, it is in "back office" types of positions.


Additional reporting provided by Geoff Kohl,