Westburne, Inc., the Montreal-based multi-industry distribution powerhouse, made bold moves to establish electrical operations in the mid-Atlantic and mountain regions of the U.S. with agreements to buy Blazer Electric Supply Co., Colorado Springs, Colo., and Electrical Suppliers, Inc., Norfolk, Va.

Westburne's goal is to increase the share of its sales coming from the U.S. market to 50% from the current 30%. Toward that end, said John Hanna, chief financial officer of Westburne, the acquisitions of regional stalwarts Blazer and Electrical Suppliers will give Westburne platforms for further acquisitions in two new regions.

Blazer Electric Supply, with 1998 sales of $44 million, is a major force in the southern Colorado market, selling a full range of products-from contractor supplies to factory automation equipment-through four locations. Steve Blazer, president, will remain for a year on a consulting arrangement, Hanna said. The management and staff of the company will continue under Westburne's ownership.

Electrical Suppliers, with 1998 sales of $34 million, is a full-line electrical distributor that operates through four locations in Virginia and one in North Carolina. William Old, the company's owner, who has been in the electrical industry 38 years, has a three-year agreement to work for Westburne, but he will not be active in the day-to-day operations. The company's management team and staff will continue under Westburne, Old said.