EADS recently expanded its North American presence with the $350 million acquisition of PlantCML, a provider of emergency-response solutions with the largest installed base of public-safety answering points (PSAPs) in the United States.

EADS bought California-based PlantCML through its EADS North America subsidiary, led by President and CEO Sunny Taylor. Buying PlantCML not only increases the profitability of EADS North America immediately but also diversifies the company into the North American 911 and international 112 emergency-response markets, she said.

“We're strictly involved with P25 in the public safety and government [sectors]. This is a whole new line of business, so the marriage is a very, very good one,” Taylor said. “The customers want one-stop shopping. What we're trying to do is bring a total solution to the customer.”

Both companies in the deal plan to leverage the distribution and sales networks of the other to increase their businesses. Tim Fuller, CEO of PlantCML, said he is hopeful that EADS contacts in Europe will provide PlantCML with new access to emergency-response customers on that continent. Meanwhile, EADS is looking to PlantCML — a company with products installed in about 4000 of the 6400 PSAPs in the U.S. — to help EADS jump-start its Project 25 presence in the U.S., Taylor said.

Although the merger offers new market potential for PlantCML, Fuller said “it's pretty much business as usual” for the 911 solutions company from a product perspective for the rest of this year, although it will focus more on preparing its portfolio to meet the needs of international markets. The PlantCML brand will be maintained “for the foreseeable future,” Taylor said.

While many companies seek to reduce the work force after a merger, Taylor said that should not be a concern for PlantCML's 630 employees. “If anything, we're in hiring mode,” she said. “There will be no layoffs.”

PlantCML has been a leader in providing IP-based solutions for PSAPs. Ultimately, the companies hope to integrate their respective solutions into a single offering that provides greater efficiency and functionality to public safety customers, Fuller said.

“Because these are all IP-based telephone and IP-based radio systems, we have the ability now to effectively remotely monitor and maintain those systems,” Fuller said. “PlantCML has already developed that infrastructure on the 911 side, and we can leverage that same capability and infrastructure on the radio side, as well.”

Buying PlantCML also fits the long-term strategy announced by EADS in its Vision 2020 plan to reduce the company's reliance on the performance of its high-profile Airbus manufacturing unit, which fluctuates with the cycles of the European airline industry. Under Vision 2020, EADS hopes to expand in the public safety and defense sectors, as well as develop a greater presence in North America.

“With this acquisition, EADS solidifies its position in security systems and solutions, while fulfilling our commitment to invest in our capabilities and grow in the U.S.,” said Louis Gallois, CEO of EADS, in a statement.

Taylor added that EADS North America could make more acquisitions in the near future.

PLANTCML SNAPSHOT

CEO: Tim Fuller

Headquarters: Temecula, Calif.

Employees: 630

Previous owner: Golden Gate Capital

Current owner: EADS North America