Canadian based Distech has some innovative products to control HVAC, Access Control and Video Surveillance in Buildings; allowing connectivity and analysis of different systems.
It generated $55.7m in sales last year, meaning Acuity paid an exit sales multiple of 4.5; no wonder Distech's VC investors are calling this a "great exit".
Acuity Brands can now add Distech to their growing stable of acquisitions, including Adura Technologies, a company in the networked lighting space and eldoLED, a manufacturer of LED driver electronics.
Acuity Brands reported total revenue of $2.93b and net income of $175.8m in the 12 months ending 31/08/2014. Clearly this was a strategic acquisition that will have little effect on their bottom line. So why now and why Distech Controls?
We have written extensively about the confluence of IP, Wireless Technology and LED Lighting creating the perfect storm that opens up the opportunity for the Internet of Things (IoT) to establish itself in buildings.
Each new LED fixture can now be a node on an intelligent network turning off the lights when people aren’t around or dimming them when exterior light can be harvested. But those sensors can also be used to harvest other useful data about temperature, occupancy and their surroundings that have many other applications not associated with lighting but other environmental controls, security and safety; delivering value add services for the business enterprise.
Having struggled for the last 15 years to get all the environmental services in buildings to work together we have now reached a point where connectivity can be achieved directly through IP allowing the IoT to become a reality.
Our research demonstrates that LED Lighting controls could now act as a catalyst for the opening up of the Internet of Things in buildings – http://memoori.com/portfolio/smart-buildings-the-lighting-controls-business-2013-to-2017/
The importance of Distech to Acuity Brands is that they will allow them to better target the LED Retrofit market with Controls.
If the lighting controls market is to maximize the growth opportunities that we forecast then it must increase its share of the retrofit market. Whilst the case for retrofitting buildings with LED lighting has become very compelling it needs wireless technology in order to bring down the installation cost and improve the ROI. Currently retrofit contributes ONLY 10% of total sales BUT has a latent potential to more than treble its contribution.
LED lighting and its control will be retrofitted in many thousands of buildings that don’t have Building Energy Management Systems (BEMS) and this presents an even stronger case for connecting to the bus-based lighting controls, fan coil units, chilled beams and natural ventilation controls. The BEMS suppliers will contest this but it could be welcomed by the product manufactures after a slight tweaking of the distribution channels.