French exec visits Pelco

Clovis and Pelco will benefit with additional employees and investment as Schneider Electric begins to integrate with Pelco over the next few months, an executive vice president with the French company said.

Arne Frank visited Clovis on Thursday and made his first public comments here since the sale of Pelco was announced Wednesday at Schneider's headquarters in France.

He said he expects regulatory hurdles to take four to eight weeks before Schneider can begin the process of moving pieces of its operation to Clovis.

"It would surprise me if there wasn't some positive effect," Frank said, unable to indicate the number of new jobs. "But everything that strengthens us strengthens Pelco and strengthens Clovis."

Pelco, Fresno County's largest manufacturer with 2,200 employees locally and 2,600 worldwide, was acquired by French conglomerate Schneider Electric in a $1.54 billion cash deal.

The company's Fire and Security Products Division will be merged into Pelco.

Schneider has a "small fire and security unit" that it operates under its Sweden-based TAC subsidiary, said Frank, who is chairman and chief executive officer of TAC.

The company also has a small market share in video surveillance products, but not of the scale or reputation of Pelco, he said.

There will be some overlap in product lines, he said, but Schneider Electric's global reach will allow Pelco to grow more.

"We have a small video security [presence] with market share in some segments," Frank said. "We have seen what Pelco has been doing and we are so impressed, and adding our large international presence to that is a very good recipe for success."

Frank said Pelco is the "best company in the world" when it comes to video surveillance products and will allow his company to grow into an industry it has not significantly targeted.

"It's clear that Pelco is far ahead of what we do in these small subsidiaries," Frank said.

While Schneider Electric is not averse to moving jobs when it makes sense, Frank said Pelco is in the best place it can possibly be.

"That will not occur for Pelco," he said. "What we have here is high volume and a big product mix. We are very convinced that the way it's being done is the best way it can be done."

He also said Pelco is a "very special" company because of its strong customer-service culture.

"We are really encouraging Pelco's management to make that culture go forward, and we are motivated to learn from that culture," Frank said.

"In this particular sale we have more to learn from them than they have to learn from us."