ATI-HTL Combined to Have Wider Geographic Footprint, Broader Service Capabilities
October 11, 2011

By Sahely Mukerji,

York, Pa.-based Architectural Testing Inc.'s (ATI) purchase of Riviera Beach, Fla.-based Hurricane Test Laboratory (HTL) brings all of HTL's customer testing under one roof, says Vinu Abraham, former chief executive officer of HTL. Following the acquisition, Abraham now serves as the vice president, Southeast Region, for ATI.

On September 30, the HTL board sold the assets of the company to ATI. ATI first approached HTL about purchasing its customer list and equipment exactly two years ago, says Henry Taylor, president of ATI. “Subsequently, both companies began to realize the benefits of a merger, and discussions were renewed about six months ago. Upon realization of the mutual benefits and preliminary negotiations, we proceeded with the necessary due diligence and effected the purchase of HTL.”

Through the transaction, HTL now has access to more test service capabilities and ATI's strong technology base, Abraham says. "Prior to the merger we were primarily an air water structural and blast facility," he says. "ATI also does thermal, acoustic, forensic and field testing. And HTL clients routinely have a need for some of those services. I'd say 50 percent of HTL clients already had a relationship with ATI."

HTL has three facilities in Texas, Georgia and Florida, and ATI has 12 facilities across the country. The acquisition gives ATI a larger footprint in the Florida market, Taylor says. "We also gain a new testing facility in the Atlanta area," he says. "The addition of the Lubbock, Texas, area is particularly valuable as an 'arena blast facility' that expands our blast testing outside the laboratory environment. Further, we have the benefit of now employing some valuable and experienced management that will continue their duties and contribute to the strength of Architectural Testing's executive staff."

"For HTL, it gives us access to the entire United States and a good portion of Canada," Abraham says.

The top 20 percent of HTL customers were alerted about the acquisition a week ago, Abraham says. "By and large, they were overwhelmingly in favor of this marriage," he says. "Both companies are built on the same value set, and driven by customer needs. We strongly competed with each other, and had high respect for each other. A lot of our clients used the two companies interchangeably."

No major "deflections" are expected due to the expanded nature of other ATI services that can now be handled and administered through the HTL locations, Taylor says. "Nothing of any major consequence will be changed for the HTL clients."

In his new role, Abraham plans to "first, understand ATI and its capabilities more closely," he says. "Once that's done, we will reach out to our existing and potential clients to let them know what we have on the table. And lastly, we will explore opportunities beyond North America."

In total, the 15 facilities employ about 300 employees, Abraham says.

"At the present time, the HTL staff will remain with ATI but with some changes in responsibilities as a result of duplication," Taylor says. "Functions such as marketing, accounting and some administrative services will be consolidated in time as necessary. Likely we will be hiring employees to develop a strong field testing service in these new markets and we will be expanding the building sciences disciplines, particularly in building envelope commissioning."

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