Over the past month, two more indicators popped up that prove that U.S. electrical distributors are looking beyond America's shores to expand their business reach. IMARK Group, Bowie, Md., has joined IMELCO, a 20-year-old consortium of 12 buying/marketing groups from 16 European countries and Australia that in 2011 had combined sales of an estimated $8.4 billion. And in the automation market, several Rockwell distributors formed EDGE Investment Partners LLC to provide supply chain and technical services to international customers. EDGE is an acronym for Electrical Distribution Global Enterprise.

Edge's founding members are Kirby Risk Corp., Lafayette, Ind.; French Gerleman Electric Co., St. Louis, Mo.; Gerrie Electric Wholesale International, Burlington, Ontario; Horizon Solutions, Rochester, N.Y.; Kendall Electric, Portage, Mich.; McNaughton-McKay Electric Co., Madison Heights, Mich.; North Coast Electric Co., Seattle; Revere Electric Supply Co., Chicago; The Reynolds Co., Fort Worth, Texas; Van Meter Industrial, Cedar Rapids, Iowa; and Werner Electric Supply Co., Neenah, Wis.

The group said in a release announcing its formation that the distributors involved have seen an increase in demand for electrical distributors' supply chain and technical value-add services and said the experience of EDGE members can “accelerate the capabilities of potential partner companies to serve those needs.”

Beginning Aug. 1, Bob Eisenbrown, a veteran of Rockwell Automation, ABB and Eaton, will become chief executive officer of EDGE, headquartered in Milwaukee, Wis.

IMELCO's member associations include the United Kingdom's Associated National Electrical Wholesalers, which according to its website, www.anew.co.uk, has 37 members with 300 branches, and GEMCELL, an Australian buying/marketing group with 34 members operating 258 locations. According to information on IMELCO's website, Associated National Electrical Wholesalers accounts for an estimated $853 million in sales and GEMCELL's members combined do an estimated $754 million in sales.

IMARK has 900 independently owned electrical distributor members operating more than 2,000 branches. IMARK estimates that its members hold an 18 percent share of the U.S. electrical distribution market.