The largest electrical distributor in the world may once again be publicly owned. The private-equity consortium that owns Paris-based Rexel SA is contemplating an initial public offering (IPO) for the company on the Paris stock exchange, according to several news reports that surfaced in September.

Several sources said the process is at an early stage. A Sept. 11 Dow Jones newswire report said an IPO wouldn't likely happen before 2007.

Rexel USA, Dallas, did not return phone calls at press time. However, Rexel executives reportedly told the London Times that an IPO and return to the Paris stock exchange early next year is merely one of several strategic alternatives it constantly reviews.

Rexel was acquired in 2005 by an investor group including Clayton, Dubilier & Rice; Eurazeo; and Merrill Lynch Global Private Equity. It was delisted from the Paris stock exchange in March of that year.

Rexel Inc., the North American subsidiary of Rexel SA, posted $2.5 billion in sales in 2005. Based in Dallas, the company has 4,945 employees and 300 branches in 34 states. The company ranked as the nation's sixth largest electrical distributor, according to Electrical Wholesaling's 2006 Top 200 listing of electrical distributors. With its purchase earlier this year of GE Supply, Shelton, Conn., the company will most likely be near or at the top of next year's Top 200 ranking.