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This article was written by Daphne Tomlinson, Independent Senior Research Associate at Memoori

The last 12 months have been a quiet year for commercial fire detection acquisitions by the leading fire safety conglomerates (Honeywell, Johnson Controls, Siemens and UTC) who have been focused on technology innovation as well as continuing to redefine their core businesses. However, second tier fire detection product suppliers have been active in the European market in 2017, enhancing their technology through acquisitions and expanding their reach through regional growth.

Following the merger with Tyco in 2016, Johnson Controls has reduced its core fire safety business to that focused on buildings, with the divestment of two non-core activities: Grinnell mechanical products, suppliers of valves and connectors for piping systems, has been sold to Anvil, while they retain the Grinnell fire suppression business; and Scott Safety, suppliers of personal respiratory products to fire services has been divested to 3M.

Honeywell has also been re-evaluating its portfolio, having announced in October, that it would spin off its residential security and global fire and security products distribution business, ADI into a stand-alone publicly traded company. Following the group’s acquisition of Xtralis in 2016, the fire business has launched their next-generation VESDA-E VEP aspirating smoke detector system, as well as new fire control panels from the Gamewell-FCI, Silent Knight, Farenhyt and Fire-Lite brands.

In November 2017, Honeywell acquired a small 25-employee Italian company, SCAME Sistemi, s.r.l., adding new fire and gas safety capabilities to their portfolio of Connected Building solutions. SCAME is a provider of all-in-one systems that deliver management of fire and gas detection, and fire extinguishing systems, from a single interface and supervisory software platform, targeting industrial infrastructure. Founded in 1979, SCAME is based in Arluno (Milan), Italy. SCAME will be integrated into the Fire business.

In December 2017, UK public company, Halma Group enhanced its wireless fire detection capabilities with the acquisition of Argus Security Srl, a manufacturer of wireless fire safety systems based in Trieste, Italy and Sterling Safety Systems, Argus’ exclusive distributor in the UK under the Hyfire brand. The two companies will be managed as a single Halma business in the Infrastructure Safety division. The combined cash consideration was £21 million on a cash and debt‐free basis and their combined revenue, for the year ending 31 December 2016 was £13 million.

Hyfire is a leading UK hybrid fire detection and alarm system. Utilising both wired and wireless technologies, the system allows rapid and reliable installations in the most difficult and challenging environments, particularly temporary infrastructures. Argus products currently protect the accommodation facilities at Wimbledon Tennis Championships, Cirque Du Soleil, Eton College, Coutts Bank and Claridges Hotel.

The two companies join the four other fire detection and suppression systems businesses, Apollo Fire Detectors, Advanced Electronics, FFE and Firetrace, in the Infrastructure Safety division, with combined revenues estimated at around £150 million. Apollo Fire Detectors was the largest contributor with £87.17 million sales reported in April 2017.

In May 2017, Detectomat GmbH was integrated into the DEF Network, a leading independent manufacturer of fire protection systems in Europe. Through this acquisition, DEF Network strengthens its position on the European market and specifically in Germany. DEF offers a complete range in the Fire Safety Systems sector, which includes not only detection and extinguishing, but also related expertise: voice alarm systems, emergency exit management, smoke extraction and containment. The group, headquartered in Massy, France, has over 60 companies in its network, with 2,100 employees, 9 international subsidiaries, 11 production facilities and an estimated €230 million revenues.

Detectomat claims to be one of the top five manufacturers of fire detection systems in Germany, with around 100 employees. Founded in 1977, the firm has two manufacturing facilities in Germany and China, with a production capacity of one million detectors per year. The acquisition will bring together a consolidated team of 130 engineers in Research and Development.

Hochiki Europe (UK) Limited, the Japanese life safety systems manufacturer, has also strengthened its position in the Italian market by acquiring fire and security product distributor, Device and Electronic Systems (DES srl), based in Verona. This acquisition allows Hochiki Europe to expand the DES distribution channels and further increase its business within the Italian market, as part of its ambitious growth plans across EMEA.

Wagner Group GmbH, a specialist fire prevention systems supplier based in Germany, with €85 million revenues in 2016, has expanded into Scandinavia; in May 2017, the company acquired a 65% holding in Norwegian technology company Hypoxic Technologies AS based in Verdal near Trondheim. Like Wagner, the company specialises in active fire prevention via oxygen reduction for critical facilities such as data centres, libraries and museums. Hypoxic Technologies AS will continue selling LowOxygen systems and, together with Wagner, will gradually expand the local product portfolio to include the entire system range in active fire prevention. Fire detection and extinguishing systems will be added to the range of fire protection solutions offered as part of the further expansion.

Technology-led acquisitions and innovations such as multi-function sensors, wireless detectors, video fire detection, integrated fire safety systems and intelligent fire prevention technology are expected to continue contributing to robust growth in the global fire detection systems market.

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