Parkeon: New Name for Schlumberger
January, 2004Parkeon is the new name for the parking and ticketing operations that formerly were Schlumberger. That part of the French conglomerate was purchased in late 2003 by a private equity group, APEX Partners. According to Parkeon CEO Yves Chambeau, "We are the same footprint, the same management, the same products. However, now we have the resources and expertise of APEX."
Chambeau, who had been with Schlumberger seven years and in charge of this division for five years, stressed that there would be few changes in the new company. "Our U.S. headquarters remain in Moorestown, NJ, our corporate facilities in Paris," he said. "Bob Barnes will continue to manage North American operations, Ireland, the UK and North Europe. France, Germany, Italy and the rest of Southern Europe is headed by Jose Edo. The rest of the world is handled through dealer/partners.
"We now have access to more capital to consider merger and acquisition opportunities," Chambeau said, "and we can leverage external growth opportunities. These are very real, considering how Lockheed-Martin, for example, sold its parking division a few years ago, since then renamed ACS, to refocus on its core business."
Parkeon's main product in the U.S., the pay-and-display machine, is, according to Chambeau, only recently becoming popular. "Pay-and-display has been the norm in Europe for over 30 years, but the single-space meter has been the machine of choice in America. Ninety percent of the market is single-space provided by Duncan, MacKay and POM. But that is changing."
Chambeau told Parking Today that the company has 8,000 pay-and-display machines in North America, with major installations in Toronto, Portland, OR, and New York, plus smaller and test installations in many cities throughout the country. "It's been a long task in the U.S. We have been in the market nearly two decades, and only in the past few years has the popularity of this technology taken off. Our portion of the pay-and-display market in the U.S. represents about 80 percent; however, we don't expect that to hold as the size of the market increases." The company has about 60 percent of the European market and expects its share of the U.S. market to settle at the same number.
In addition to its on-street operations, Parkeon markets an off-street system in Europe. "We have been installing that system for the past three years in Germany, France and the UK," Chambeau said. "The Valuplex Varioflex system is designed for that market. However, we plan to expand it into the U.S. in a few years."
The company sells direct and through dealer/partners in the U.S. Its marketing model is to secure a major account in a large city and then work with the local dealer/partner to install and maintain that system. That dealer would then be in a position to sell smaller systems in the surrounding areas.
Ticketing systems for transportation is another product line for Parkeon. "It has great synergy with the other equipment," Chambeau said. "It uses common components such as printers and coin and note acceptors, and often the customers see a benefit to having parking and ticketing equipment supplied by the same company. We market the ticketing system through system integrators.
"We are also at the cutting edge of on- and off-street parking systems convergence and traffic structure modeling to streamline parking revenue management and ease congestion. We provide connectivity and maintenance services, real-time data management, ticketing systems, and parking and transport payment solutions."
Chambeau said he plans to brand the new name in the U.S. through stepped-up trade show activity, advertising, and a "road show" to take the products -- and the new name -- directly to the company's potential customers.
Parkeon employs more than 850 people worldwide and generated revenues of USD $156 million in 2002. It has installations in 3,000 cities across 40 countries.