Giving it a stronger foothold in the original equipment manufacturer (OEM) market, WESCO International Inc., Pittsburgh, has agreed to purchase the Carlton-Bates Co. in an all-cash deal.

Carlton-Bates, Little Rock, Ark., specializes in components such as switches, relays, diodes, relays, contactors, motor starters, fuses and cable. The company also offers a broad line of industrial controllers, programmable logic controllers, industrial input/output systems, programmable communicating counters and industrial workstations. Carlton-Bates distributes products from more than 300 manufacturers and inventories more than 80,000 parts.

Roy Haley, WESCO's chairman and chief executive officer, said he was pleased with the prospect of combining Carlton-Bates into WESCO's position in the electrical distribution market. “This important acquisition provides a unique opportunity to more deeply penetrate the original equipment manufacturer market segment with specialty products, applications and value-added services,” he said. “Carlton-Bates has an effective and proven marketing strategy to the OEM market and has a track record of growth and responsive customer service.”

Carlton-Bates has annualized 2005 sales of about $300 million and has 32 branch offices and four regional warehouses in 17 states, including one in Pennsylvania. The company serves an estimated 20,000 customers throughout the United States and Mexico. Its core markets are in the Southeast, Southwest and Midwest.

Dan Brailer, WESCO's treasurer and director of investor relations, said Carlton-Bate's OEM orientation would fit well with WESCO's MRO orientation in construction.