HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) ¿ The fire and security business of industrial conglomerate United Technologies Corp. said Wednesday it has increased its stake in a Chinese fire alarm company. UTC Fire and Security said its ownership is now more than 95 percent of the shares of GST Holdings Ltd. UTC Fire and Security, through its affiliate United Technologies Far East Ltd., first acquired 9.9 percent of GST shares in 2006. It had since risen to 29 percent, the company said. Financial terms were not disclosed. The subsidiary of United Technologies, which also owns jet engine maker Pratt & Whitney, Sikorsky Aircraft, Otis elevator and other businesses, will consolidate GST with its operations and delist it from the Hong Kong Stock Exchange. GST is primarily engaged in the manufacture and distribution of fire alarm systems, fire network systems, video entry, electronic power meter and building automation systems. It employs 3,600 workers and operates 190 branches in China with manufacturing operations in Qinhuangdao, Shenzhen and Beijing. Revenue last year was about $165 million, UTC Fire and Security said.
"Investment in China is an important part of our expansion strategy and we look forward to working with the GST management team to accelerate growth in the region," said William Brown, president of UTC Fire and Security. In October 2008, United Technologies dropped a $2.6 billion unsolicited bid to buy ATM manufacturer Diebold Inc., which would have been part of its fire and security business. In March, United Technologies' Chief Financial Officer Greg Hayes said the Hartford, Conn., company would cut its share repurchase to $1 billion from $2 billion with an eye for acquisitions. Last month, he said the weak economy and low share prices have forced United Technologies to take another look at acquisitions.