"Niscayah was an ideal acquisition"

Massimo Grassi, Stanley Black & Decker's European President for security.

Stanley Black & Decker today has a 3.2 billion dollar security division with global presence. The last year's 1.2 billion dollar acquisition of Niscayah has added business in high level security verticals like banking. Detektor met up with Stanley Black & Decker's European President for security, Massimo Grassi, to discuss the integration. "Niscayah has been a dream for us for a long time. It was an ideal acquisition for us to become a pan European player", he says.
Stanley Black & Decker acquired Niscayah in September 2011. A few months earlier, Securitas made a bid for Niscayah. The payment was in Securitas shares and when the banks and stock markets began to sway shares fell and suddenly the Securitas bid was not worth as much anymore. Stanley Black & Decker made a significantly higher bid than Securitas and Niscayah became part of the American company.

By starting to look at customer needs in the larger geography and combine customers with similar needs across major markets, the company now wants to develop, sell and deliver new offerings. Niscayah will work more with standardisation, become more centralised and develop offerings for small and medium-sized customers.

On September 12, one year after the acquisition, Niscayah changed the brand name to Stanley Security Solutions. The new brand will be introduced in all 14 countries around Europe. According to Massimo Grassi, Niscayah has a good image in the European security market place, while the Stanley brand is not so well known yet. He says: "Globally Stanley is perceived as a good, reliable company while Niscayah is perceived as a very technically skilled company. Our task is to merge the attributes of the brands and give a unique value proposition to our customers."

In 2007, the Stanley Black & Decker turnover was 4 billion dollars. Today it is more than 11.5 billion. The company has three divisions: Construction and DIY, Industrial and Security. Security constitutes for about 30 per cent of the total sales.
"We started with a 100 million dollar business a few years ago. Through acquisitions we today have a 3.2 billion dollar security division with global presence. It is a nice growth story", says Massimo Grassi.

"We have a nice track record in developing our presence. The other aspect is diversifying by going from just tools, moving to other platforms for growth and particularly security."

You joined the company in 2007 and in September last year you took on the role of President for security solutions in Europe.
"Yes. I am a builder and I like to build things. That is why I think this opportunity with Niscayah is an extraordinary opportunity; to really build a pan European leader in security. We want to leverage Niscayah presence in all countries in Europe. The Niscayah expertise together with the added value we have at Stanley, this was a compelling acquisition for us."

How is the integration going?
"The integration is going as well as it could. We are very satisfied. The biggest surprise so far is that there have been no surprises. Stanley Black & Decker and Niscayah complement each other very well in terms of segments. Niscayah have a very good level of expertise in high level verticals like banking and distribution while Stanley in France and the UK have very good value propositions for small and medium enterprises and retail. The objective now is to make all this available in different countries and try to pick the best of each country in terms of value propositions and processes and make it available for everybody. For us, everything we do starts and ends with customer satisfaction."

What is most important when integrating a company?
"For us, integrating a company is one of our key fields of expertise. We have completed several of them. The last one, Black & Decker, was a complete success. However, there are several key factors to learn. It is important that there is clarity in terms of leadership. Niscayah has been a much decentralised company while at Stanley, we have many centralised processes. One of the challenges as president for this organisation was to make sure there was a match between these big cultural differences. We had a very intense first period with integration meetings.
The ideas and the objectives are very clear. There are no compromises in terms of where we need to go."

Why is standardisation of business offerings so important?
"The product portfolio must be similar in every country; otherwise we will not be able to position ourselves to successfully serve international key accounts. Also, we will achieve more leverage if we buy the same camera everywhere in Europe. Instead of investing 10 million, we can invest 20 million and the supplier will give us a better price. This is another interesting aspect of standardisation and consolidation."

What is the difference between Stanley Black & Decker in USA and in Europe?
"Our strategy is quite similar. The difference is that in North America, we have a combination of electronic security and mechanical security. In Europe we basically only have electronic security."

Where will you be experiencing the best growth in the future, in the US or in Europe?
"In the short term, probably in the US. Spain is one of our major markets and the situation there is difficult, just as in Italy. 2012 is really not a brilliant year for southern Europe, but I am extremely confident that this company has a great future in Europe as well. The economy will recover one day."

Where in Europe are you experiencing the best growth?
"We are happy that the Nordics are doing a good job. I do not think we are losing market share in southern Europe, but the market is slowing down a bit. So, mainly northern Europe."

What about Eastern Europe?
"We do not have much business there. We are planning to go there, but not now. First we would like to create conditions to make our customers happy and complete a very solid integration."

Before acquiring Niscayah you had offices in France, the UK and Belgium. Which are your three largest markets in Europe today?
"They are France, Sweden and Spain. France is the largest market."

What is your biggest challenge?
"I believe it is to stay focused on the core business. I am not worried. With Niscayah we have not only acquired a strong franchise in Europe, but also a fantastic set of talent. I am very confident of the future; the challenge is probably to remain focused on our objectives without being distracted by other opportunities that we may find."

Talking about opportunities... will you acquire more security companies?
"We would love to - growth is our focus, but not necessarily right now. Acquisitions depend on opportunities. Tomorrow we may have another important opportunity and then we will consider it very seriously. Security is definitely one of the most important platforms for Stanley Black & Decker and we are definitely interested in acquisitive growth. It may happen in a month or in a year, but today my main objective is to successfully complete the integration of Niscayah into Stanley Black & Decker."

How big do you see Stanley Black & Decker's security division in five years time?
"I believe that security will have an over proportional growth within Stanley in terms of percentage. I would not be surprised if we double our size from 3.2 billion to 5 or 6 billion. Strategically, doubling our size is something that is realistic within 5 years. Security is one of the growth platforms."

Stanley Black & Decker security milestones
2005 Stanley acquired Security Group, Inc. which was composed of
Sargent & Greenleaf, Inc., a medium and high security locks manufacturer, and Safemasters, a North American provider of physical security installation, maintenance and repair services.
2006 Stanley acquired Sonitrol and Xmark Corporation.
2009 Stanley announced a merger with Black & Decker. It was completed on March 12, 2010 and the size of the company almost doubled.
2011 On September 9, the acquisition of Niscayah was finalised.

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