Stuart C. Irby Co./Sonepar USA, Jackson, Miss., expanded its presence in the utility market in the southwestern United States with the acquisition of Priester Supply, Arlington, Texas.

The acquisition, which became part of Stuart C. Irby's utility division, expanded Irby's presence in the utility market in Oklahoma and Texas and gave it a utility presence for the first time in Colorado and New Mexico. Priester Supply has locations in Denver; Hammond, La.; Waterville, Maine; Albuquerque, N.M.; Syracuse, N.Y.; Tulsa, Okla.; and Amarillo, Austin, Fort Worth and San Antonio, Texas. Priester Supply's management is expected to remain in place.

Founded in 1932, Priester Supply, with 55 employees, operates 10 full-service utility branches in seven states. The company is the largest regional utility distributor in the southwestern and south central United States, according to an Irby company statement.

Mike Wigton, president of Stuart C. Irby Co., said Priester Supply was an “ideal fit” for Irby. “Together, we will expand our service offering, increase our service territory and help our customers better utilize the resources required to manage their distribution and transmission systems. The merging of our operations substantially expands Irby's utility footprint, especially in the high-growth markets of Texas, New Mexico, Colorado and Oklahoma.

With $400 million in annual sales and 35 branches, Stuart C. Irby is the industry's 16th largest electrical distributor, according to Electrical Wholesaling's 2005 Top 200 listing.

Stuart C. Irby said the Priester name has a “valuable brand equity” in its market. Sonepar will continue to use the Priester Supply and Stuart C. Irby names there.