Want to learn more about the 10 largest distributors of electrical supplies in North America? Check out these capsule summaries from Electrical Wholesaling's Top 200
Parent: Sonepar SA, one of the largest privately held businesses in the world
Senior executive for North America: David Gabriel
Chairman of Sonepar SA: Marie-Christine Coisne-Roquette (photo at left)
2013 sales for North America:$7.7 billion and 1% increase from $7.62 billion in 2012.
2013 global sales Sales: €16.3 billion (approximately US $17.3 billion)
Presence: 40 countries
Locations: 673 in North America, 2,300 global
ERP system: Many Sonepar companies are on or moving to Eclipse.
Sonepar SA website: www.sonepar.com
Sonepar USA website: www.soneparusa.com
Find a Sonepar location in the United States:
Sonepar USA branch locator
Sonepar Canada website: www.soneparcanada.com
The big news at Sonepar was the April announcement that Halsey Cook joined the Sonepar North America senior management team as the president of Sonepar USA. He will have complete responsibility for all aspects of the U.S. business unit. His most recent experience has been with Legrand North America, where for the past seven years he was president of the Electrical Wiring Systems Division for North America.
Dave Gabriel, the president and CEO of Sonepar North America, had been handling the role of Sonepar USA president after the former executive in that post, Paul Klasing, left the company.
By Sonepar’s own acquisition standards, the past 12 months have been pretty quiet. The company acquired MGM Electric Ltd., Thunder Bay, Ontario; Electrical Wholesale Services in New South Wales Australia; and Oakwell Distribution in Singapore.
Senior executive: John Engel (photo at left)
2013 sales: Total — $7.16 billion (U.S: $5.28 billion; Canada: $1.88 billion; and $346 million from outside U.S. & Canada. Total sales increased 14% from 2012.
Locations: Total — 475 (U.S: 325; Canada: 105 and outside North America: 45)
ERP system: In-house legacy system
Company web-site: www.wesco.com
Find a WESCO branch: WESCO branch locator
WESCO has been busy over the past two years with acquisitions in specialty markets and north of the border in Canada. In 2014, the company acquired Hi-Line Utility Co., Elgin, Ill.; a Canadian safety products distributor, Hazmasters Inc., Toronto; and LaPrairie Inc., New Market, Ontario, another utility specialist. It made even more acquisitions in 2012, when it purchased EECOL of Calgary, Alberta, one of Canada’s largest distributors; utility specialist Trydor Industries, Surrey, British Columbia; and Conney Safety Products, Madison, Wis. Dan Brailer, the company’s V.P. of investor relations says the company is looking at organic growth of 3% to 6% in 2014.
Parent: Rexel SA, Paris
Senior executive: Christopher Hartmann
2013 North American sales: $5.77 billion, down slightly from $5.87 billion in 2012
2013 global sales:€13 billion (approximately $17.9 billion)
Employees: 8,406 in North America, 30,000 worldwide
Locations: 617 in North America, 2,300 worldwide
ERP system: Eclipse
Global web-site: www.rexel.com
Find a Rexel branch in the U.S: Rexel branch locator
The most recent news at Rexel is that Christopher Hartmann, executive V.P. and CEO of Rexel Holdings USA, plans to leave the company at the end of 2014 after more than six years at the helm. In late May, Rexel’s board of directors, appointed Rudy Provoost as chairman and CEO of the Rexel Group and Catherine Guillouard as deputy-CEO. Provoost had previously been appointed as chairman of the Rexel Group’s Management Board in Feb. 2012. Catherine Guillouard, appointed group chief financial officer in May 2013, is keeping that role alongside her new responsibilities.
Over the past year, Rexel has been acquiring more actively overseas than in North America and in 2013 acquired Lenn International of Singapore and Quality Trading of Bangkok, Thailand to bolster its’ position in Southeast Asia’s oil and gas industry. Internally, the company went live at the end of 2013 with an Eclipse ERP system. It was a massive job, requiring the changeover of 3,000-plus concurrent users across hundreds of U.S. locations, converting divisions running on seven disparate ERP systems onto one solution, Epicor Eclipse. The company reported plans to continue the update in 2014 at its Gexpro business.
Headquarters: St. Louis
Senior executive: Kathleen Mazzarella (photo at left)
2013 sales: $5.66 billion North America; United States: $5.34 billion; Canada: $317.13 million
Employees: 7,529 total; 6,955 in United States; 574 in Canada; not available outside the U.S. or Canada
Locations: 231 in the United States, 30 in Canada; and one outside U.S. or Canada
ERP system: SAP
Company web-site: www.graybar.com
Find a Graybar branch: Graybar branch locator
Graybar continued to open new branches at a rapid rate and reported new facilities in Montgomery, Ala.; Decatur, Ga.; Champaign and Rockford, Ill.; Dickinson and Minot, N.D.; Binghamton, N.Y.; Williamsport, Pa.; Columbia, Mo.; Boston (downtown), Mass.; and Carrizo Springs, Deer Park and Odessa, Texas. Over the past few years, the company has opened up a quite a few new branches in oil patches, and these branches reportedly become profitable investments for the company much faster than branches in other areas. Dennis Shaw, the company’s director of financial analysis, says Graybar is looking at a 2014 sales increase of 3% to 5% and is seeing strong growth in non-residential construction, particularly the industrial market. The government market sector is lagging other areas, he said.
Headquarters: Skokie, Ill.
Senior Executive: Bob Eck, president and CEO (photo at left), Sam Zell, chairman of board of directors
2013 North American sales: $4.29 billion ($6.3 billion in total)
Employees: 8,300 (worldwide)
Locations: 250 (worldwide)
Anixter locations: Anixter branch locator
In a recent conference call with investment analysts, Bob Eck, president and CEO, reported steadily improving market trends in all segments. He highlighted the strong performance of Anixter’s OEM Supply (Fasteners) segment and the double-digit growth in the company’s core enterprise communications business, with strong growth in emerging markets and Europe. North America still accounts for roughly 67% of the company’s sales, but Europe (19%) and emerging markets (14%) are strong contributors.
According to the company’s annual report, its sales from emerging markets have grown 66% over the last four years, with sales exceeding $830 million. Said the Anixter 2014 Annual Report, “Major opportunities exist in many large Latin American and Asian markets in all of our segments, driven by the same global trends of mobility, data creation and storage in our Enterprise Cabling & Security Solutions (ECS) segment; global oil, gas and petrochemical projects and infrastructure investments in our Electrical and Electronic Wire & Cable segment; and expanded manufacturing and supply chain outsourcing in our OEM Supply segment.”
Headquarters: Irving, Texas
Senior executive: Kurt Lasher, president & CEO
2013 sales estimate: $4.2 billion (Forbes magazine estimate)
CED web-site: www.cedcareers.com
The folks at CED have never liked to talk much about what’s happening at the company, but the dramatic growth that this distributor has experienced through acquisitions speaks for itself. The company has acquired dozens of electrical distributors over the past four decades. The most recent acquisition was the purchase last year of Davis Wholesale Electric, North Hollywood, Calif. The company is in the action in North Dakota’s Bakken region with two relatively new branches in Dickinson and Williston, N.D.
Senior executive: Joseph DeAngelo, CEO; Steve Margolius, president (photo at left), HD Supply Power Solutions
2013 sales: $1.84 billion (Power Solutions business unit) $8.5 billion in total
Employees: 15,000 in total
Locations: 101 in the Power Solutions Group, 630 in total
HD Supply web-site: www.hdsupply.com
Find an HD Supply branch: HD Supply branch locator
Now that HD Supply is publicly traded under the “HDS” ticker symbol, it’s a bit easier to look into the company’s financials. Considered over the past few years to be the largest distributor of utility products in North America, the HD Supply Power Solutions business unit is probably bigger than most people realize. It accounts for 22% of total company sales and enjoyed a solid 5.3% sales increase in 2013, which is down a few points from the company’s overall 2013 increase of 7% organic growth. HD Supply Power Solutions offers customers access to 220,000 stock-keeping units at it 101 branches.
Headquarters: Fargo, N.D.
Senior executive: Tammy Miller
2013 sales: $1.44 billion, an 8% increase over 2012 sales of $1.33 billion
Buying/marketing group: Affiliated Distributors
ERP system: SAP
Company web-site: www.borderstates.com
Find a Border States branch: Border States branch locator
Border States made a big move into the steadily growing Utah market in 2013 with the purchase of Electrical Wholesale Supply of Utah in Salt Lake City, which at the time of the acquisition had eight locations, 135 employees and was ranked #100 in EW’s 2013 Top 200. Border States also acquired utility specialist Utilcor, Jackson, Tenn. Brian Becker, the company’s corporate controller, said BSE is expecting a 10.8% increase in sales in 2014.
In May, the company broke ground on a new 96,000-square-foot branch facility in Fargo and will be renovating its headquarters in the city in the second phase of a major expansion. The new branch facility will include natural daylight strips, occupancy sensors and a highly efficient HVAC system. Tammy Miller, CEO, was recently awarded the National Association of Electrical Distributors’ (NAED) Arthur W. Hooper Achievement Award, the association’s highest honor. This award is presented to an individual who has had an exceptional career in distribution. Miller is the first woman to receive this prestigious award.
Headquarters: Lake Forest, Ill.
Senior executive: James Ryan
2013 total sales: $9.4 billion, a 5% increase over 2012 sales of $8.95 billion. Electrical products account for at least 15% of total sales and according to EW’s estimates top $1 billion.
Employees: 23,900 worldwide
Locations: 390 U.S. branches
Company web-site: www.grainger.com
Find a Grainger branch: Grainger branch locator
Say all you want about AmazonSupply’s potential impact on the distribution industry, Grainger is still the gold standard when it comes to e-commerce in this business. Customers have access to more than a million SKUs at www.grainger.com and the company was recently ranked by Internet Retailer magazine as the 15th largest e-retailer in the U.S. and Canada, and as a member of its Mobile Hot 10 list. According to the Grainger FactBook, e-commerce represented $3 billion in 2013 sales and 33% of the company’s overall sales. Grainger is gunning for e-commerce to account for 40% to 50% of all sales by 2015.
Headquarters: East Dubuque, Ill.
Senior executive: Marty Burbridge
2013 sales: $1.03 billion, a 1% increase over 2012 sales of $1.02 billion
Buying/marketing group: IMARK
ERP system: Eclipse
Company web-site: www.cesco.com
Find a Crescent Electric Supply branch: Crescent Electric branch locator
The subject of Electrical Wholesaling’s July 2013 cover story continues to expand on a number of fronts. It has moved to a new Eclipse ERP system, launched a new online storefront and in 2013 finalized the acquisition of Lake Electric Supply, Storm Lake, Iowa.
The company's updated ecommerce site provides access to more than 200,000 products and allows customers to draw from the company’s system-wide inventory of more than $120 million. In other company news, Crescent Electric Supply celebrated its 95th year in the electrical market on April 15. The company was founded in Dubuque, Iowa in 1919 by Titus B. Schmid.
Learn more about Sonepar, WESCO, Rexel, Graybar, Anixter, Consolidated Electrical Distrbutors, HD Supply Power Solutions, Border States Industries, W.W. Grainger and Crescent Electric Supply.
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