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ARCHIVED  October 22, 1999

Wyco is latest local HVAC acquisition

FORT COLLINS — The buyer’s market for locally owned heating, air-conditioning and ventilation (HVAC) businesses turned up the heat another notch in early October, when Wyco Mechanical Services of Fort Collins was acquired by industry giant Carrier Corp., a subsidiary of United Technologies Corp. (NYSE:UTX).

“This opens a lot of doors for additional business, just from the recognition of Carrier in the marketplace and its strong financial capabilities,´ said branch manager and former co-owner of Wyco Ken Veal.

The acquisition will “certainly benefit employees from a stronger benefit package and additional opportunities for advancement,” he noted, adding that the Wyco operation plans to double its current employment base of 20 service technicians within the next five years.

Precedents for the merger were set in late 1998 and January 1999, when Kelly’s Heating & Air Conditioning Inc. of Loveland and Local Furnace Co. of Fort Collins were also acquired by HVAC industry consolidators — American Residential Services Inc. and Service Experts respectively.

John R. Hall, contractor-relations editor for Air Conditioning, Heating & Refrigeration News based in Troy, Mich., noted that because “Fort Collins in particular has been one of the most if not the most desirable communities to live in, it’s become a hot area for consolidating activity. There’s a lot going on there, and there are a lot of people interested in some of the contractors already well-established in an area that’s growing.”

In the 30 years since its founding in 1970, Wyco has established a strong customer base of local office buildings, health care facilities, industrial firms and retail store chains in the Northern Colorado region. Veal and Rod Arndt bought the company from local Bruce Douglas in 1991, and since then have piloted a 30 percent growth. Wyco will retain both its name and Veal and Arndt, who will continue to work with the firm as managers.

Jon Shaw, manager of communications for Carrier, noted “I think that given the area that they’re serving there, Wyco has established a strong customer base with hospitals, industrial companies and manufacturers. It’s an opportunity for us to strengthen our representation in that area.”

Hall noted that the majority of industry consolidation currently involves residential and commercial contractors in the $2 million to $15 million a year range. “I’m not sure of the exact figures,” he added, “but we’re looking at around $2.5 billion for total sales of acquired contractors, which is a nice chunk of change, but a small percentage of the over-all picture.”

“It’s a very huge industry,” he concluded. “There’s still room for everybody and consolidation is not the main concern of the little guys — it’s utilities regulations.”

FORT COLLINS — The buyer’s market for locally owned heating, air-conditioning and ventilation (HVAC) businesses turned up the heat another notch in early October, when Wyco Mechanical Services of Fort Collins was acquired by industry giant Carrier Corp., a subsidiary of United Technologies Corp. (NYSE:UTX).

“This opens a lot of doors for additional business, just from the recognition of Carrier in the marketplace and its strong financial capabilities,´ said branch manager and former co-owner of Wyco Ken Veal.

The acquisition will “certainly benefit employees from a stronger benefit package and additional opportunities for advancement,” he noted, adding that the Wyco operation…

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