Behind the Headlines: Commissionaires Ottawa acquisition creates a local security powerhouse

News broke this week of a major acquisition in the Ottawa business scene when the Commissionaires Ottawa Group acquired another security-related company: ADGA Group. In this episode of “Behind the Headlines,” Michael Curran chats with the president and CEO of Commissionaires Ottawa Group Paul Guindon. 

The following is an edited transcript of the interview. For the full conversation, please watch the video or listen to the audio podcast.

MC: Like any acquisition, this has been in the works, for many months, Paul. Tell us about the deal, and give us a sense of what has just happened between Commissionaires Ottawa Group and ADGA Group.

PG: It has been a bit of a long process, but that's what it’s all about. We’re conducting due diligence and making sure that we are on track with what we wanted to do. But it's a great fit, because it does compliment what Commissionaires Ottawa does, what ComNet does, and what ADGA does. We think this is probably the greatest deal for us and the greatest step forward for us in the coming years. I guess people will start to have to start to recognize us as a mid- to large-sized player in town for sure.

OBJ: I appreciate that both of the companies are private entities, and you won't disclose what the sale price is in that, but let's just talk a little bit about the combined entity now. So Ottawa Commissionaires Group has almost 5,000 employees, local employees. Is that right?

PG: Just about, yes. A little south of that. The plan here with Commissionaires Ottawa, and with ComNet when we acquired them, is to keep expanding smartly, but it's a business. You have to keep growing, and the same philosophy exists at ADGA. So yes, we're about close to 5,000 employees.

OBJ: And as I understand it, the combined revenues for the group, will be in the quarter-billion-dollar range. Combined annual revenues, that is.

PG: Absolutely. The most important thing here really is our employees. It’s for Commissionaires Ottawa Group of companies' employees, and not only looking after, veterans of the military in the RCMP, but as well as their families, and others who wish to work with us. And being able to provide a whole range of employment potential together, from guard services to consulting services, to engineering consulting, and everything in between. So, we just created this. Yesterday when we closed, we created this synergy, and at the end of the day, it is for employees.

MC: So security in general, all aspects of physical, digital, and cybersecurity, is becoming more and more important in today's business world. Is that one of the reasons why you pulled the trigger on this major acquisition?

PG: It is one of the reasons. Now, ADGA is also involved in security, as you have described, as many people know it to be, but ADGA is much more than that. Commissionaires Ottawa is much more, on the pure security side. However, having said that, the security environment, be it cyber security, or personal security, or guard services, or background checks, is a growing business. And it is growing because it is becoming, more and more important each and every day. Just on the cyber security side of things, not a day goes by without some sad news about some organization that they have been hacked or have been ransomed. So yeah, it's a field that we need to recognize very well, in order to protect ourselves, our lives, our ways of life, because it's getting really ugly out there.

OBJ: It's a little bit of a sad reality, but business and our communities are more complicated and more difficult to keep safe. And I guess what you've done, through the acquisition today, is really created a little bit of a security powerhouse that can address security needs in a multifaceted way.

PG: Absolutely. We are a people organization. And because of Commissionaires’ social mandate, and who we are, the fit is perfect between the two organizations.

OBJ: It is, and it's a nice business strategy fit, and it's a nice cultural fit that goes back to many decades and the commitment to hiring veterans of the military, the RCMP, so on and so forth. Paul, thank you so much for joining us. That's all the time we have today. Thanks for making time for us on a very busy day.