Three Northeast distributors Merge: Holmes Distributors, Inc., Portland, Maine; Oakes Electric, Holyoke, Mass., and RERO Distribution Companies, Inc. of Rochester, N.Y., have agreed to merge to form Horizon Solutions, Inc., a $150-million distribution company serving the Northeast market.

In the merger agreement, Horizon Solutions will provide Rockwell Automation products and software; electrical supplies; datacom supplies and equipment; industrial production tools and consumables; safety supplies and equipment; material handling equipment; compressor equipment and service; and extensive training.

The owners of the distributorships, Bert Andrews of Holmes, Jim Newton, Jr. of Oakes and Peter Roby and Dick Wilson of RERO, will be owners of Horizon Solutions. They will continue to be involved in their respective companies, as well as the new corporation.

Sonepar continues East Coast expansion: Sonepar USA has acquired Capital Lighting & Supply, Inc., Alexandria, Va. It also acquired West Philadelphia Electric Supply Co., Philadelphia, Pa., and New American Electric, Trenton, N.J., through its acquisition of Cooper Electric Supply Co., Tinton Falls, N.J., in 1999. Cooper owned both of those electrical distributorships.

The acquisition of Capital Lighting & Supply, with 90 employees and 1999 annual sales of about $56 million, complements Sonepar's recent acquisition of Lee Electric Co., Baltimore, Md., which focuses on the industrial market. John Hardy, president, and Tom Collins, executive vice president of Capital Lighting, will remain with the company in their current positions.

Cooper Electric Supply Co., Tinton Falls, N.J., had expanded into Philadelphia and Trenton, N.J., with the acquisitions of New American Electric and West Philadelphia Electric, which also has a location in Primos, Pa. Jeff Newman, president and CEO of West Philadelphia Electric, will continue to head the operation.

Integrated supply ventures join IDEA: Two new e-commerce companies will have full distributor membership in the Industry Data Exchange Association (IDEA) after a vote by the Rosslyn, Va.-based association's board of directors.

The IDEA board's decision to welcome two new e-commerce companies-SupplyFORCE.com, King of Prussia, Pa., and SourceAlliance.com, Raleigh, N.C.-into the association as members gives them access to IDEA's IDXchange industrywide extranet service as well as the data in the industry data warehouse (IDW). SupplyFORCE.com includes over 200 distributors who belong to the buying group Affiliated Distributors, Inc. (A-D), also in King of Prussia. SourceAlliance.com, spun off late last year by Rockwell Automation, Milwaukee, Wis., includes all Allen-Bradley distributors.

The board also attempted to resolve lingering questions over Trade Service Corp.'s agreement to supply data to IDEA's IDW. Under the agreement, Trade Service is supplying data from its electrical Price File Maintenance Service (PFMS) to populate the IDW in its roll-out phase, at no charge to the manufacturers. Questions arose over what could happen when the free service is no longer available.

The questions concern whether, and on what terms, Trade Service will continue to supply data to the IDW for manufacturers that are not members of IDEA, and whether manufacturers not included in the IDW would continue to be included in the PFMS service. The IDEA board and Trade Service have agreed that the PFMS and IDW will be synchronized.

Correction: A News Watch article in EW's December issue contained a factual error regarding Auburn Armature, Inc., Auburn, N.Y. Auburn Armature is not owned by Westburne, Inc., Montreal, as reported. EW regrets the error.