EMCOR buys Comunale

NORWALK, CONN. EMCOR Group announced in early October that it has purchased S.A. Comunale Inc., a privately held fire protection and mechanical services company headquartered near Akron, Ohio. Terms of the transaction were not disclosed. EMCOR also owns Shambaugh & Son in Indiana that performs a significant amount of fire protection work. In addition, it owns Meadowlands Fire Protection, part of F&G

NORWALK, CONN. — EMCOR Group announced in early October that it has purchased S.A. Comunale Inc., a privately held fire protection and mechanical services company headquartered near Akron, Ohio. Terms of the transaction were not disclosed.

EMCOR also owns Shambaugh & Son in Indiana that performs a significant amount of fire protection work. In addition, it owns Meadowlands Fire Protection, part of F&G Mechanical in New Jersey.

"Fire protection has a national footprint and with the addition of Comunale, EMCOR becomes one of the nation's

largest providers of fabrication, installation, repair and inspection of fire protection systems," said Tony Guzzi, EMCOR's president and chief operating officer. "Additionally, we see substantial opportunities to leverage and grow Comunale's services to national customers through our facilities services platform and marketing and branding programs."

Comunale was ranked as the 22nd largest contractor in the country in CONTRACTOR's 2006 Book of Giants (May, pg. 32) with revenues of $153 million, and it is also the nation's largest sprinkler contractor with fire protection revenues of more than $130 million. Comunale's 2006 revenues are expected to be in the $150 million range.

Armie Comunale founded the company in the 1920s as a plumbing shop, and he was joined by son Frank in the 1940s. Comunale now employs about 800 technical and field personnel through its three main branches in Columbus, Ohio, and Philadelphia and Reading, Pa., as well as nine other branch offices in Ohio, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Michigan and West Virginia. Comunale provides fire protection and mechanical services including design, installation and maintenance services for fire protection, alarm detection and special hazard systems as well as mechanical construction services for HVAC, plumbing, process piping and design/build applications.

"We are pleased that Comunale, one of the nation's leading fire protection and mechanical services providers, will join EMCOR," said Frank T. MacInnis, EMCOR chairman and chief executive officer. "With leading positions in the commercial, health-care, government and higher education markets, Comunale has a long-standing reputation as a premier construction and services company. Their skilled and experienced management and technical staff have developed a full-service culture that provides tailored solutions for individual customers."

President Steve Comunale told CONTRACTOR in May that codes and legislation are driving the fire sprinkler market. Communale is not only sprinklering dormitories in Ohio, Pennsylvania, New Jersey and West Virginia but also fraternity houses and off-campus apartment buildings.

Comunale is finding other work in ballparks, hotels, convention centers and huge warehouses. With this country's unfavorable balance of trade, imports are pouring into the country and they have to be warehoused somewhere. Comunale has done a half dozen warehouses of more than 1 million sq. ft.

"Every school board in Ohio has a school program, either retrofit or new construction," Steve Comunale said, "and hospitals are still a good market for us."

Business is strong around the nation's capital. Comunale performed a 1 million-sq.-ft project for the U.S. Census Bureau consisting of two buildings with a parking garage in between. He said that his automotive business was rebounding. His company is working for General Motors, Honda and Jeep for the first time in a long time.

"One of EMCOR's strengths is our ability to provide full life safety solutions to create and support secure environments — from the most complex to the simplest systems, from extensive networks to single sites — to protect two of the most important components of any business: people and physical assets," MacInnis said. "Comunale, with its recognized position as one of the nation's leading fire protection companies, supports this strategy."

Steve Comunale will stay on to manage his company.

"We are delighted to join the team at EMCOR, the industry leader," Communale said. "We feel that by leveraging EMCOR's strong brand recognition, Comunale can achieve an increased level of customer penetration. We are excited about our future as part of EMCOR."

EMCOR is the right parent firm for his employees, he added.

"I have a great love for the S.A. Comunale company and its dedicated employees," he said. "Therefore, in considering acquisition, it was critical that I was sure that we were bought by an organization that shared our same high ideals and philosophy about business and the people that make it successful. Importantly, to the extent that growth of S.A. Comunale is a priority for me and our folks, acquisition by EMCOR was exceedingly attractive. With a strong national brand and operations and financial soundness second to none, I felt assured of the continued growth of S.A. Comunale.

"Additionally, with Fire and Life Safety being a key area of focus, expertise and expansion for EMCOR, it was clear that S.A. Comunale fit nicely with one of EMCOR's key growth strategies and core competencies."