Fire Suppression Company Scam

November 7, 2017

10/19/17

By Jesse Jones
KIRO 7

It appears that the fire protection company Red Safety is feeling the heat, again, from fire chiefs for its sales practices.

“For me it’s disheartening,” said Maple Valley Fire Chief Aaron Tyerman.

Tyerman says one of the company’s employees misrepresented themselves as being part of the fire department at a community event.

Red Safety was invited to a potential customer’s home.

“He let the company into his home and realized after about ten minutes that this isn’t the Maple Valley Fire Department,” said Tyerman. “Then the high-pressure sales tactics started and that’s when he got really uncomfortable.”

Tyerman said after the salesman left, the community member then called the police.

“He said I just really feel violated by the whole thing, that’s really disconcerting to me,” said Tyerman.

This is not new. I first told you about Red Safety’s sales practices in May.

I reported that Fire Chiefs from East Pierce County to Shoreline have voiced their concerns to the company.

Captian Kyle Ohashi from the Puget Sound Regional Fire Authority told me about troubling complaints from residents in his district.

“They had a salesperson come to the door. They turned down that sales person but were concerned for their neighbors also being solicited. So when they went outside they found one of the sales people on their property with a drill in their hand clearly trespassing, uninvited,” said Ohashi.

One of the owners of Red Safety is a real firefighter named Jared Olin with Renton Regional Fire Authority.

Last year, Olin apologized to East Pierce Fire and Rescue Chief Bud Backer for “the mis-representation of your fire department that was caused by a member of Red Safety.”

Tyerman said he had previously spoken with Olin along with other chiefs about the company’s actions.

“To have somebody who is confronted with an issue, who tells you to their face, yeah, i’m going to change my business practices, I want things to be better,” said Tyerman. “And then nothing changes.”

In a response to the Maple Valley incident, Olin said “…we make clear to our salespeople that they should not represent themselves as fire code enforcers or that they represent any fire department. Any report of misrepresentation will be dealt with immediately, which was the case with the Maple Valley complaint.”

Tyerman says he had no problem with Red Safety trying to make a buck, it’s how it’s done that fans the flames of concern.

“The trust and respect with the community is all we have, if we lose that and that gets violated that’s very impactful to us and other community members” said Tyerman.

Jared Olin declined my request for an on-camera interview.

If anyone comes to your door and says they are a firefighter, they will have a badge, I.D. and a well-marked vehicle.

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DowDuPont Likely to Return as Much as 30% over the Next Year

October 30, 2017

10/21/17

By Jack Hough
Barron’s

Remember the chief executive with the birthday-party ice sculpture of Michelangelo’s David urinating vodka? That was Dennis Kozlowski, who nearly ran Tyco International into the ground.

The story has a happy ending, not so much for Kozlowski-who did eight years in prison for grand larceny, conspiracy, and fraud-but for investors who bet on his successor. Edward Breen stabilized, slimmed down, and split up Tyco during the decade ended 2012, and made a return of over 700% for shareholders in the process. (He also earned, fair and square, an exit package worth more than Kozlowski had looted.)

Breen’s past success is newly relevant, because today he heads the world’s largest chemical company, DowDuPont (ticker: DWDP), which was formed by an August merger. DowDuPont is no Tyco-it needs restructuring, not resuscitation-so Breen is unlikely to deliver anything close to his past returns. Even so, the shares look likely to return a healthy 15% to 30% over the next year, including dividends.

One similarity between the two companies is that DowDuPont is, just as Tyco was back then, the product of decades of rampant deal making. There are plenty of examples of companies that have bought their way to prosperity, but these are the exceptions, not the rule. Academics who have studied the matter have found that, on average, acquisitions tend to beget subpar returns, and spinoffs, handsome ones.

That makes intuitive sense. Managers who do big takeovers tout the synergies they will unlock, but some have a hidden motivation: the desire to run larger companies. Those who do spinoffs shrink their empires. Presumably, they have solid financial reasons for doing so.

At Tyco, Breen started with a massive debt load and a shattered stock valuation. He slashed costs and used some of the money to pay down debt, while investing some in growth projects. He also left a trail of spinoffs. There’s a medical-products company that’s now part of Medtronic (MDT); an electronics maker now called TE Connectivity (TEL); and ADT, which was bought last year by Apollo Global Management and merged into security concern Protection One. (The rest of Tyco is now Johnson Controls International [JCI] after a reverse merger last year.)

BREEN COMES TO DOWDUPONT via DuPont, where he was named CEO two years ago and had been cutting costs. The combined company has announced a plan to split into three separately traded businesses.

The materials-science division will include packaging, industrial and infrastructure products, coatings, and more. Yearly sales there are pegged at about $40 billion and profit margin, over 20%, based on operating Ebitda, or earnings from continuing operations before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortization. Specialty products, including ones for the electronics, medical, oil and drug industries, are expected to bring in sales of $21 billion with a 25% margin. And agricultural products, including seeds and weed- and bug-killers, will bring in about $14 billion in sales, with margins over 15%.

DowDuPont says it can cut $3 billion from yearly costs and add $1 billion to revenues by combining sales efforts. “Breen tends to underpromise and overdeliver,” says John Maloney, chief executive at M&R Capital Management, which oversees $525 million, mostly for individuals, families, and estates. Maloney held Tyco shares under Breen and now expects to profit with DowDuPont, especially given what he calls Breen’s knack for making good investments. “You want a CEO who will feed the flowers and starve the weeds,” he says. “I don’t think the revenue upside is factored in by anyone.”

The math on falling costs, meanwhile, bodes well for patient shareholders. DowDuPont could spend $3.5 billion to make the changes necessary to secure that $3 billion a year in savings, according to JPMorgan analyst Jeffrey Zekauskas. It is likely to bear the last of these costs before the end of 2019. That means free cash flow will be understated at first and swell thereafter. Zekauskas predicts $4.10 a share in free cash next year and $5.55 in 2019.

That gives shares, recently $71, a free cash yield of 7.8% based on the 2019 forecast. The average Standard & Poor’s 500 company has a free cash yield of about 5%. A rise in the stock price to Zekauskas’ price target of $80 over the next year would put the 2019 free cash yield at a still-attractive 6.9%. That would work out to a 15% return, including dividends.

However, the pending breakup, which DowDuPont expects to complete within 18 months, makes things more interesting. Investors tend to demand high free cash yields from commodity companies, like the materials portion of DowDuPont, but are willing to settle for lower yields on specialty and agricultural products, given the high margins of the former and the scarcity value of the latter. For example, specialty player Praxair (PX) has a forward free cash yield below 4%, and seed giant Monsanto (MON)—which has agreed to a buyout by Bayer (BAYN.Germany)—is under 5%. Putting DowDuPont at a blended 6% free cash yield in a year results in a share price of $92, notes Zekauskas. That works out to a gain of 30%, plus the 2.6% dividend yield.

Those aren’t post-Kozlowski Tyco returns, but then, DowDuPont comes with a drama-free balance sheet. If anything, analysts complain that the company owes too little. If it wanted to come up to a more typical leverage ratio, it could raise $20 billion. That’s 12% of its stock market value—enough for a big stock buyback or a doozy of a dividend.

The original story can be found here: http://www.barrons.com/articles/dowdupont-buy-it-ahead-of-the-breakup-1508554090


FSSA Webinar Series: CO2 Applications and Safety Considerations, Nov. 9 – Register Today!

October 27, 2017

The Fire Suppression Systems Association (FSSA) will be hosting its next webinar on: CO2 Applications and Safety Considerations, presented by Tom Wysocki, FSSA Technical Director.

CO2 Applications and Safety Considerations
Thursday, November 9, 2017
12:00 p.m. – 1:00 p.m. EST

Description:

This webinar will provide an overview of the use of carbon dioxide fire extinguishing systems in various industrial/commercial applications such as metal working, coal handling, power generation, food processing, etc. The historical safety and effectiveness of carbon dioxide systems will be examined together with modern-day safety features required for carbon dioxide fire extinguishing systems.

Click here to register and here for more info from FSSA’s website!

FSSA webinars are open to members and non-members. We encourage you to share this information with industry friends and colleagues.

About the Presenter:

Tom Wysocki, FSSA Technical Director
Tom Wysocki currently serves as the Technical Director for the Fire Suppression Systems Association (FSSA). Wysocki is also President and Senior Technical Consultant at Guardian Services Inc. (GSI) a fire protection consulting firm serving manufacturers, installers, and end users of fire protection systems. He has developed, designed, installed and maintained a wide range of fire protection systems including water based systems, industrial dry chemical, foam, Halon, carbon dioxide, and clean agents. Typical applications include commercial kitchens, data centers, manufacturing facilities, oil and gas facilities, marine vessels, and both fossil and nuclear power plants.
Wysocki is a member of numerous NFPA technical committees including NFPA 12, NFPA 12A, NFPA 75 and NFPA 2001 and is a Professional Member of the Society of Fire Protection Engineers.


Did We Really Save the Ozone Layer?

September 29, 2017


Is it Time to Start Destroying Halon?

September 28, 2017


United Tech Nears Deal to Buy Rockwell Collins for More Than $20 Billion

August 29, 2017

A worker assembles a circuit board used in a LCD screen for Boeing aircraft at the Rockwell Collins production facility in Manchester, Iowa, in 2016. United Technologies is nearing a deal to buy Rockwell for more than $20 billion, a tie-up that would create one of the world’s biggest aircraft-equipment makers. Photo: Daniel Acker/Bloomberg News

8/29/17

By Dana Mattioli, Joann S. Lublin and David Benoit
The Wall Street Journal

United Technologies Corp. is nearing a deal to buy Rockwell Collins Inc. for more than $20 billion, a tie-up that would create one of the world’s biggest aircraft-equipment makers.

The companies are discussing a per-share price for Rockwell of $140 or less and could come to an agreement as soon as this weekend, according to people familiar with the situation. Rockwell shares closed at $127.99 Monday, giving the company a market value of $20.8 billion.

As with all acquisition talks, it is possible they could hit a snag and not result in a deal, or the expected price could change.

The deal would boost United Technologies’ business supplying Boeing Co. and Airbus SE as the aerospace industry ramps up for a new generation of jets. The company already owns one of the world’s biggest jet-engine makers, Pratt & Whitney, part of an aerospace division that also makes parts such as wheels and landing gear.

Rockwell specializes in cockpit displays and communications systems for passenger jets and military programs. In April, the Cedar Rapids, Iowa, company closed its roughly $6 billion acquisition of B/E Aerospace Inc., a maker of plane seats and interiors.

Since word of the talks surfaced this month, several analysts have said they don’t expect significant antitrust issues given United Technologies and Rockwell make different airplane parts. But airplane manufacturers might voice concerns about any consolidation among their suppliers. Boeing and Airbus have also been nudging their way into aftermarket business to capture some of the profit from selling and servicing parts—putting them on a collision course with suppliers.

The possibility of a United Technologies deal for Rockwell caught some analysts by surprise. In June, United Technologies Chief Executive Greg Hayes told analysts the Farmington, Conn., company was looking to spend roughly $1 billion on acquisitions this year. It had about $7 billion in cash.

“As far as bigger M&A, it’s something we always look at, but I am reluctant to go out and pay some of the prices that we see today,” Mr. Hayes said at the Paris Air Show.

United Technologies has a market value of about $92 billion. Last year, the industrial giant, which also makes Carrier climate control systems and Otis elevators, rebuffed unsolicited takeover approaches from Honeywell International Inc.

— Thomas Gryta contributed to this article.

Original article can be found here: https://www.wsj.com/article_email/united-technologies-nears-deal-to-buy-rockwell-collins-for-more-than-20-billion-1504019858-lMyQjAxMTI3MjI2OTcyNDk2Wj/


Honeywell Sued for Allegedly Hacking Competitor’s Website

August 28, 2017

8/21/17

By Shayna Posses
Law360

New York — Honeywell International Inc. tried to capitalize on the success of a rival’s online fire and safety inspection tools by hacking into its computer system and stealing its intellectual property, customer list and eventually employees in the process of launching a competing product, according to a suit filed Friday in Georgia federal court.

BuildingReports.com Inc. alleges that Honeywell’s foray into the world of inspection report software and tools was marked by a “pattern of illicit conduct” in its suit accusing the tech giant of worming its way into — and damaging — BRC’s computer system, as well as trying to poach BRC’s customers and employees in the process of creating and launching the eVance Services program.

“This lawsuit arises out of Honeywell’s attempts to mimic BRC’s successful business model and develop this new, competing business line using improper means, including stealing BRC’s intellectual property, hacking into BRC’s computer system without authorization, scraping BRC’s website to obtain BRC’s customer list, damaging BRC’s computer system in the process, and then using the fruits of these labors to solicit BRC’s clients,” the complaint says.

Georgia-based BRC provides a number of online tools that help service providers, building owners, property managers, and fire and safety officials conduct a wide variety of inspections, including checking for compliance with local codes and Occupational Safety and Health Administration standards. These tools help reduce costs and compliance risks, according to BRC.

Among other products, the company offers clients web portals that allow them to log in and access inspection reports and tools. In connection with these offerings, BRC has secured a handful of copyrights on its inspection reports, the complaint asserts.

BRC first learned that Honeywell wanted to develop a competing product in 2011, when multiple people told it that Honeywell executives had approached them at an industry conference to ask what company they used for testing, according to the suit.

By early 2012, Honeywell had started downloading copies of BRC inspection reports from the company’s web portal without its knowledge, using logins Honeywell convinced an employee of one of BRC’s customers to create, the complaint says.

Meanwhile, Honeywell divisions were trying to squeeze information out of BRC more directly, with executives submitting requests for details about several applications through the company’s website, as well as asking for meetings in person, according to the suit.

Honeywell formally introduced its competing web-based inspection system in June 2014, the suit says.

A few months later, BRC launched a member locator function that allowed building owners to look up BRC customer service companies in their area. Within a week, Honeywell was systematically scraping the locator server to nab BRC’s customer list, using a software tool it created to force its way into the system, according to the complaint.

These searches dramatically slowed the server’s ability to service current and potential customers, leading to complaints and requiring a pair of BRC employees to work to mitigate and prevent the infiltration, the suit says.

Using the information it obtained, Honeywell has solicited a number of BRC’s customers, persuading some to move their accounts over, the suit alleges. Honeywell has also actively tried to steal BRC’s workers, including getting BRC specialist Jeff Montoney to jump ship in February, according to the complaint.

Honeywell has repeatedly used, reproduced, distributed and promoted inspection reports that are very similar to, if not clearly derived from, BRC’s copyrighted reports, to the point that customers have asked whether the companies are partners, the suit says.

BRC brings a number of claims against the company, including copyright infringement and tortious interference with employee relationships, as well as violations of Georgia’s Trade Secrets Act and Computer Systems Protection Act.

BRC seeks injunctive relief; compensatory, statutory and punitive damages; unlawful gains and profits; and attorneys’ fees and costs.

Representatives for the parties didn’t immediately return requests for comment Monday.

BRC is represented by Steven G. Hill, Douglas R. Kertscher and Martha L. Decker of Hill Kertscher & Wharton LLP.

Counsel information for Honeywell wasn’t immediately available.

The suit is BuildingReports.com Inc. v. Honeywell International Inc., suit number 1:17-cv-03140, in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Georgia.

–Editing by Pamela Wilkinson.

Original story can be found here: https://www.law360.com/articles/956162/honeywell-rival-says-it-hacked-into-system-and-stole-ip