Telecommunications infrastructure provider buys another division from Netricom

A Quebec-based telecommunications infrastructure builder is continuing its cross-Canada expansion by buying the second division of a struggling competitor in five months.

Group Telecon of Trois-Riveres said Wednesday it has bought the engineering services division of Montreal’s Netricom to extend its wired and wireless design, build and installation services for wireless and wireline networks.

Andre Heroux, Telecon’s CEO, said in an interview the company’s clients include BCE Inc.’s Bell Canada, Rogers Communications, Telus Corp., Videotron for whom it does everything from build cellular towers to installing cabling in buildings and fibre optic to homes, as well as school boards

With an engineering division, which prepares for bidding on upcoming construction of these networks, “we have visibility of what will be built in the next few months or years” by major carriers, Heroux said.

“Telcon will now have that scouting of what will be coming ahead of time so we can offer what I believe is a point of differentiation from our competitors, a turnkey solution where from one-stop you will obtain the design, construction installation, repair and maintenance of the telecommunications network.”

The acquisition brings Telecon’s employee count to 2,100.

In December Telecon bought Netricom’s wireless network construction division, which largely builds microwave and celluar antenna sites on roof tops and towers, to give the company offices in British Columbia, Alberta and Nova Scotia as well as extend its small Toronto-area operations.

However, what Heroux really wanted was Netricom’s engineering group. During discussions on the wireless division he mentioned that if it was for sale Telecon was interested.

In addition to the four provinces mentioned above, Telcon now has offices in New Brunswick, Saskatchewan and Newfoundland.

Competitors include the infrastructure divisions of Vancouver’s Ledcor Group and Aecon Group.

The acquisition was funded in part from a total of $22 million in recent investments by two of Telecon’s major shareholders, the Capital régional et coopératif Desjardins (CRCD) and La Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec (The Caisse – Quebec’s pension fund manager).

Heroux said his plan is to keep expanding, based on the company’s 2012 vow to double revenue over the coming three to five years.

His immediate goal, though, is to get “more people in the trenches” in Alberta and B.C., either through hiring or another acquisition.

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