Establishment in the USA
The security market in the USA represents some 35 percent of the world security market. It was thus of interest to us as soon as the European operations were established and operating well.
A number of opportunities were evaluated and in 1999 Securitas launched its expansion into the USA with the acquisition of the listed market leader, Pinkerton. The acquisition signaled Securitas’ clear intention of taking a leading position on the American security market and was followed by further acquisitions.
In 2000 the second-largest security company, Burns, was acquired, and together with another four regional acquisitions this created the American platform for Securitas. In total, Securitas acquired a sales volume of around MSEK 30,000 and a US market share of 20 percent in 1999 and 2000. A comprehensive restructuring project created a national organization of 650 local branch offices, 100 areas and 10 guarding regions.
On top of this there was the cash handling business of Loomis & Fargo, which came from the acquisition of Burns and the subsequent acquisition of the rest of the business in 2001. This established Securitas as a major player on the American cash handling market. In 2003, all guarding operations in the USA were brought together under the Securitas name, while the cash handling business continued to operate under the Loomis name.
Through its acquisitions in the USA, Securitas trebled its total sales once again. Organic sales growth achieved a peak of 9 percent in 1999, before falling back a little in 2000. Growth in margins was stable at over 6 percent during these two acquisition-heavy years. Free cash flow averaged 65 percent of adjusted income, while return on total capital employed fell to rather lower levels on account of the substantial acquired operations.