CI Capital-backed Summit Companies enters Texas market

20 November 2018 3 min. read
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After acquiring five fire protection firms in Michigan earlier this fall, St. Paul, MN-based fire protection services and consulting firm Summit has now expanded into the Lone Star State with the purchase of Houston-based A-1 Fire Equipment Co. The move continues Summit’s accelerated acquisition pace since coming under the ownership of private equity firm CI Capital Partners in 2017.

Founded in 1999, Summit Companies offers a full range of services related to fire safety, including inspection, monitoring, installation and repair, and advisory support. The company’s consulting division – Summit Fire Consulting – helps clients ranging from building owners and developers to architects and contractors traverse the complexities of building and fire code regulations.

The consulting division’s design and engineering professionals offer support in the areas of building and fire code consultation, fire protection system design, smoke management and fire detection systems, fire life safety performance-based design and analysis, liaison between clients and fire code officials, and hazardous materials analysis.

Since being acquired by NYC-based CI Capital Partners in September 2017, Summit has swiftly grown in size, capability, and geographical footprint. With 18 add-on acquisitions completed in little over a year, Summit has locations in Arizona, Nebraska, Nevada, Iowa, North Dakota, Wisconsin, Minnesota, and Michigan.CI Capital-backed Summit Companies enters Texas marketCI Capital took a majority stake in Summit because it viewed the fire and life safety services industry as a fragmented one ripe for consolidation. As such, CI Capital selected Summit as a platform to ‘buy & build’ within the industry, having successfully initiated such a strategy in numerous markets since it came on the scene in 1993. The private equity firm also likely saw Summit and its industry as having predictable growth and strong cash flows, in addition to consolidation potential.

Since its founding, CI Capital has made 33 ‘platform’ acquisitions and over 270 add-on acquisitions – representing about $9 billion in enterprise value. Some of its current portfolio companies include customer experience agency Hero Digital, logistics services firm Redwood, and tree/lawn care services company SavATree.

Now, Summit Companies has expanded further on the back of CI’s strong capital investment, entering the Texas market with the acquisition of A-1 Fire Equipment. The company’s Houston location will become a new branch office for Summit, retaining A-1’s management and staff while operating under the A-1 National Fire Co. subsidiary.

Founded in 1967, A-1 sells and services fire extinguishers, suppression systems, and fire alarms. The company also provides design and installation services, fire training, and fire equipment inspection and maintenance.

“Summit’s entry into Texas is in direct alignment with the company’s growth plan to expand nationally,” stated Summit CEO, Jeff Evrard. “Establishing a presence in Texas not only demonstrates Summit’s continued commitment to our customers and expanding our customer base, but also complements our existing southwest service base in Arizona and Nevada.”

Summit plans to expand A-1’s offerings with additional fire life safety services, including sprinkler systems and fire protection consulting services.