Each year, Electrical Wholesaling magazine, one of CEE News' sister publications, publishes a listing of the largest 250 electrical distributors in the United States. It's an industry benchmark that's used to measure sales, consolidation and the growth of the largest electrical distributors.
To give contractors a glimpse of what's happening with their suppliers, this article will offer an analysis of the key challenges that confront electrical distributors and a listing of the 100 largest distributors.
Total 2001 sales for the 250 largest electrical distributors decreased by 8.4% to an estimated $36.9 billion. The decrease seems relatively small, compared to some of the year-to-year sales declines that electrical distributors experienced in the first half of 2002.
For the second year in a row, the Top 250's market share of total sales through electrical distributors was at the 50% mark. This important milestone is a clear indication of the increased pace of consolidation in the electrical wholesaling industry. But it's important to remember that at least 4,000 other distributors of electrical supplies probably account for about $36.3 billion in sales. (According to Electrical Wholesaling's 2001 Market Planning Guide, distributors forecasted $73.3 billion in total sales for 2001.)
The industry continues to consolidate faster each year, but at the current rate it will take many years to approach the consolidation in the electronics or pharmaceutical distribution industries, where a handful of companies account for the vast majority of sales.
When one compares the 2002 Top 250 listing with the listing compiled in 1992, the pace of consolidation becomes apparent — at least 52 companies from the 1992 listing have been acquired or merged with other companies.
While consolidation has slowed down in the last year, as you can see in the chart on this page, it's still reshaping the electrical wholesaling industry. In less than two years, according to reports in Electrical Marketing newsletter, at least 40 companies have been acquired. Many of these companies were 250 Biggest distributors, and most were acquired by the U.S. or North American subsidiaries of Hagemeyer NV, Naarden, Netherlands; Rexel SA, Paris; and Sonepar SA, Paris.
While no market areas are untouched by consolidation, some felt it more than others. During the past year, the California market has seen some big acquisitions, led by San Diego-based OneSource Distributor Inc.'s acquisitions of Argo Electric Supply Co., Downey, Calif.; Orange Coast Electric Supply Co. Inc., Irvine, Calif.; and Pacific Parts and Controls Inc., Chino, Calif.
|Briggs-Weaver (industrial distributor)**||Coppell, TX||CamBar/Hagemeyer|
|Dauphin Associates Inc.*||Harrisburg, PA||CED Inc.|
|Seamans Supply Co.***||Manchester, NH||CLS Inc.|
|Questron Technology Inc.***||Dallas, TX||GE Supply|
|Commonwealth Controls Corp.**||Richmond, VA||Graybar Electric Co.|
|Cameron & Barkley Co.*||Charleston, SC||Hagemeyer, N.V.|
|RERO Distribution Companies Inc.*||Rochester, NY||Merged into Horizon Solutions Inc.|
|Holmes Distributors Inc.*||Portland, ME||Merged into Horizon Solutions Inc.|
|Oakes Electrical Supply Co.*||Holyoke, MA||Merged into Horizon Solutions Inc.|
|Futronix Systems*||Houston, TX||Houston Wire and Cable|
|Gaines Electric***||Signal Hill, CA||Independent Electric Supply|
|Cummins Utility Supply (certain assets)**||Fort Worth, TX||Irby Utility Supply LLC|
|Fitzpatrick Electric Supply Co.**||Muskegon, MI||Kendall Electric|
|Grand Eagle Motor Repair***||Utica, NY||K.J. Electric Corp.|
|Fairmont Supply Co. (certain branches)*||Canonsburg, PA||McBar joint venture|
|McJunkin Corp. (electrical operations)*||Charleston, WV||McBar joint venture|
|Kiemle Hankins Co. (supply division)***||Toledo, OH||McNaughton-McKay Electric Co.|
|Orange Coast Electric Supply Inc.**||Irvine, CA||One Source Distributors Inc.|
|Argo Electric Supply Co.***||Downey, CA||One Source Distributors Inc.|
|Pacific Parts and Controls Inc.***||Chino, CA||One Source Distributors Inc.|
|Intec Automation & Supply**||Toledo, OH||Professional Electrical Products Co. (PEPCO)|
|Branch Electric Supply Co.*||Upper Marlboro, MD||Rexel Inc.|
|Commerce Electric Supply**||Linthicum, MD||Rexel Inc.|
|Electric Supply of Asheville**||Asheville, NC||Rexel Inc.|
|Active Electric Supply Inc.**||Orlando, FL||Rexel Inc.|
|Quality Supply Co.**||Poteau, OK||Rexel Inc.|
|Maverick Electric Supply Inc.*||Dallas, TX||Rexel Inc.|
|Westburne Inc.*||St. Laurent, Quebec||Rexel Inc.|
|Ryall Electric Supply**||Denver, CO||Rexel Inc.|
|Del Electric Supply**||Gaithersburg, MD||Sonepar USA|
|Richards Electric Supply**||Miami, FL||Sonepar USA|
|Viking Electric Supply Inc.*||St. Paul, MN||Sonepar USA|
|Capital Lighting & Supply Inc.*||Alexandria, VA||Sonepar USA|
|Brook Electrical Distribution Co.*||Lincolnshire, IL||Sonepar USA|
|Elite Electric & Utility Supply**||Charlottesville, VA||Sonepar USA (Capital Lighting)|
|Dixie Electric Supply Corp.*||Richmond, VA||Sonepar USA (Capital Lighting)|
|Davis Electric Supply Inc.*||Clearwater, FL||Sonepar USA (World Electric Supply)|
|B&B Electrical Supply***||Putnam, CT||Standard Electric Supply|
|Tri-Electric Supply (DXP)**||San Antonio, TX||Summit Electric Supply, Inc.|
|Franklin & Smith Inc.***||West Paterson, NJ||Turtle & Hughes Inc.|
|Northland Electric Supply**||Minneapolis, MN||Werner/VanMeter|
|Control Corporation of America*||Richmond, VA||WESCO International Inc.|
|Herning Enterprises Inc.**||Hayward, CA||WESCO International Inc.|
|United Electric Supply Co.*||St. Louis, MO||Westburne Supply Inc. U.S.|
|ANESCO*||Kingston, PA||Westburne Supply Inc. U.S.|
|SPT Electric Group*||Belle Mead, NJ||Westburne Supply Inc. U.S.|
|*Acquired in 2000 |
**Acquired in 2001
***Acquired in 2002
Since 1998, the Baltimore-Washington metropolitan area has seen the acquisitions of the Branch Group, Upper Marlboro, Md.; Capital Lighting and Supply, Alexandria, Va.; Commerce Electric Supply, Linthicum, Md.; Lee Electric Inc., Baltimore; and Tristate Electrical and Electronics Inc., Hagerstown, Md.
The Minneapolis market has a new look, too. Sonepar purchased Viking Electric Supply Inc., St. Paul, Minn. The joint venture of Van Meter Industrial, Cedar Rapids, Iowa, and Werner Electric Supply, Neenah, Wis., bought Northland Electric Supply, Minneapolis. Werner planned on acquiring Van Meter and Northland last year but left a provision in the letter of intent allowing for a poor economy. So now Werner and Van Meter are 50% owners of Northland.
National chains continue to grow
Another measure of industry consolidation is the market share of the national chains. The industry's national chains, Graybar Electric Co. Inc., St. Louis; WESCO International Inc., Pittsburgh; Consolidated Electrical Distributors Inc., Westlake Village, Calif.; and GE Supply Inc., Shelton, Conn., are the four companies with branches in all regions of the United States. In 2001, their combined sales volume was $13.3 billion, and their combined market share was more than 18%. That's up a point from 2001. If one considers Rexel a national distributor and adds its $2 billion in sales to this figure, the market share of national chains tops 20%.
To qualify for a spot on the 250 Biggest list this year, a firm had to have about $16 million in electrical product sales for 2001 at wholesale. That includes sales of products a typical electrical distributor handles, such as lighting fixtures sold at retail in a lighting showroom and voice/data communication products. It does, however, exclude revenues from motor repair, plumbing supplies, mill supplies and the like.
The firms in the listing are ranked by dollar sales volume insofar as possible. To place a firm on the list, we estimate its sales if the distributor did not provide it, using publicly available information and our own records of comparable company and geographic area data. Both full-line and specialized electrical distributors qualify for ranking, as well as companies that have multiple types of businesses.
The numbers provided for houses and employee counts are for all locations in the United States, North America and internationally.
The electrical distributors who provided both a sales figure and a total number of employees had a sales per employee figure of $523,765, a big increase over the $421,000 sales per employee in last year's listing.
The table at right provides an overview of activity among the top 100 companies of the electrical distribution industry. It also serves as a guide to the entire industry's size and structure. Most important in this time of industry change, it provides a reality check on the status of the electrical distribution industry's consolidation. The business remains highly fragmented, with some movement toward consolidation.
Based on the 189 distributors who furnished both a sales number and an employee count, the average sales per employee came in at $523,765 for 2001, a huge jump of more than $100,000 over 2000.
The increase in sales-per-employee number can most likely be explained by the many electrical distributorships that have reduced personnel.
|Company (Parent)||Headquarters||2001 Sales||Employees||Houses||President or CEO|
|1||Graybar Electric Co. Inc.*||St. Louis, MO||4,800,000,000||9,100||275||R. A. Reynolds Jr.|
|2||WESCO Distribution||Pittsburgh, PA||3,658,033,000||5,677||346||R. Haley|
|3||Anixter Inc. (Anixter International)||Skokie, IL||3,100,000,000||4,900||170||R. Grubbs|
|4||Consolidated Electrical Distributors Inc.||Westlake Village, CA||NA||NA||528e||D. Bursch|
|5||GE Supply Co. (General Electric Co.)||Shelton, CT||2,302,000,000||2,300||150||W.L. Meddaugh|
|6||Rexel Inc.*||Dallas, TX||2,000,000,000 +||5000+||325+||D. Waterman|
|7||Sonepar USA*||Berwyn, PA||1,200,000,000||3,101||161||R.E. Worthy|
|8||Crescent Electric Supply Co.||East Dubuque, IL||609,000,000||NA||112e||J. Etheredge|
|9||Hughes Supply Inc./Electrical Division||Orlando, FL||575,460,270||1,027||80+e||D. Hughes|
|10||Hagemeyer North America*||Atlanta, GA||536,800,000 e||1,732e||NA||D. Gundling|
|11||McNaughton-McKay Electric Co.||Madison Heights, MI||450,000,000||930||27||D. Beattie|
|12||Communications Supply Corp.||Carol Stream, IL||440,000,000||670||30||S.J. Riordan|
|13||W.W. Grainger Inc.||Lake Forest, IL||336,000,000||1,732e||600e||R. Keyser|
|14||Stuart C. Irby Co.||Jackson, MS||321,125,092||743||40||S.M. Irby|
|15||Border States Electric Supply||Fargo, ND||315,500,000||595||23||B.Thrall|
|16||Platt Electric Supply Inc.||Beaverton, OR||298,605,031||710||66||H.J. Platt|
|17||Mayer Electric Supply Co. Inc.||Birmingham, AL||292,122,440||624||37||J. Summerlin|
|18||Kirby Risk Electrical Supply||Lafayette, IN||NA||NA||33e||J.K. Risk III|
|19||Warren Electric Group||Houston, TX||271,000,000||563e||29e||C.L. Thompson-Draper|
|20||Dealers Electrical Supply Co.||Waco, TX||NA||700e||51||S. Bracey|
|21||North Coast Electric Co.||Bellevue, WA||225,000,000||482||26||P. Lemman|
|22||Utiliserve Inc.||Corinth, TX||214,000,000||210||30||R. McClure|
|23||Independent Electric Supply||San Carlos, CA||205,000,000||347||18||R. Snow|
|24||Houston Wire & Cable Co.||Houston, TX||NA||295||10e||C. Sorrentino|
|25||Kendall Electric Inc.||Battle Creek, MI||200,000,000 +||700+||28||M. Ranly|
|26||Turtle & Hughes Inc.||Linden, NJ||190,000,000||345||7e||S.T. Millard|
|27||Steiner Electric Co.||Elk Grove Village, IL||170,000,000||540||6||H.M. Kerman|
|28||Wholesale Electric Supply Co. of Houston L.P.||Houston, TX||163,000,000||284||8||M. J. Rutland|
|29||Scott Electric Co.||Greensburg, PA||NA||947||12||S. Scott|
|30||State Electric Supply Co. Inc.||Huntington, WV||NA||621||31||A. Weisberg|
|31||CLS||Hartford, CT||156,000,000||280||18||R. Compagna|
|32||Walters Wholesale Electric Co.||Long Beach, CA||140,000,000||380||17||J. Walters|
|33||TVESCO Inc.||Memphis, TN||136,000,000||197||16e||J.D. Liles|
|34||Summit Electric Supply Co. Inc.||Albuquerque, NM||135,601,090||305||10||V.R. Jury Jr.|
|35||Elliott Electric Supply||Nacogdoches, TX||135,337,119||462||44||W.M. Elliott|
|36||Rumsey Electric Co.||Conshohocken, PA||125,527,000||287||10e||G. Lihota|
|37||Standard Electric||Wilmington, MA||125,000,000||299||11||D. Miller|
|38||Dominion Electric Supply Co. Inc.||Arlington, VA||120,000,000||245||7||R.S. Sharlin|
|39||OneSource Distributors Inc.||San Diego, CA||114,000,000||270||10||R.S. Zamarripa|
|40||Electrical Wholesalers Inc.||Hartford, CT||NA||310||19||A. Namerow|
|41||Washington Cable Supply||Lanham, MD||105,000,000||46||2||W.H. Parker|
|42||United Electric Supply Co. Inc.||Wilmington, DE||100,451,000||252||10||T. Cloud|
|43||Maddux Supply Co.||Greensboro, NC||100,000,000||269||13||J.B. Mathis|
|44||Kriz-Davis Co.||Grand Island, NE||97,100,000||198||12e||M.C. Draemel|
|45||Maurice Electrical Supply||Washington, DC||95,000,000||160||2||B. Kogod|
|46||Reynolds Co., The||Dallas, TX||95,000,000||155||6||W. Reynolds|
|47||Standard Electric Co.||Saginaw, MI||NA||233e||20||L.N. Weber|
|48||Winlectric Inc.||Dayton, OH||93,000,000||NA||46||S. Ford|
|49||Electrical Equipment Co.||Raleigh, NC||92,969,000||303||11||T.J. Lawson|
|50||Eck Supply Co.||Richmond, VA||92,000,000||220||14e||E.C. Eck|
|51||Nunn Electric Supply Corp.||Amarillo, TX||92,000,000||268e||26||R.L. Burdette|
|52||Van Meter Industrial Inc.||Cedar Rapids, IA||92,000,000||223||14e||J. Schmitt|
|53||Springfield Electric Supply Co.||Springfield, IL||90,780,000||255||11e||W. Schnirring|
|54||Stoneway Electric Supply Co. Inc.||Spokane, WA||90,000,000||210||14e||E.J. Ralph|
|55||Werner Electric Supply Co.||Neenah, WI||88,840,000||217||6e||L.T. MacDonald|
|56||City Electric Supply Co.||Orlando, FL||NA||520||76e||R. Swanson|
|57||French Gerleman Electric Co.||Maryland Heights, MO||7,150,781||230||5e||W.B. French|
|58||Noland Co.^^||Newport News, VA||85,300,000||255e||NA||L.U. Noland III|
|59||Horizon Solutions Inc.||Rochester, NY||83,655,000||198e||7||J.R. Wilson|
|60||Stanion Wholesale Electric Co. Inc.||Pratt, KS||83,000,000||248||18||W.M. Keller|
|61||Madison Electric Co.||Warren, MI||NA||175||11||J. Schneider|
|62||Minarik Electric Corp.||Glendale, CA||NA||NA||18e||J. Hegel|
|63||Benfield Electric Supply Co. Inc.||White Plains, NY||80,343,802||175||6||R.C. Kohli|
|64||Colonial Electric Supply||King of Prussia, PA||79,000,000||230||9||S. Bellwoar|
|65||A.E. Petsche Co. Inc.||Dallas, TX||77,000,000||110||7||G.K. Davidson|
|66||Dakota Electric Supply Co.||Fargo, ND||75,000,000||200||10||B. Herr|
|67||Power/Mation||St. Paul, MN||NA||150e||6||J. Landis|
|68||Billows Electric Supply Co.||Philadelphia, PA||NA||230||NA||J.L. Billow|
|69||Professional Electric Products Co. aka PEPCO||Eastlake, OH||73,000,000||125||4||J. Borkey|
|70||United Utility Supply Cooperative||Louisville, KY||73,000,000||46||6||R. Sheets|
|71||Monarch Electric Co.||West Caldwell, NJ||NA||80||2||S. Perlman|
|72||Becker Electric Supply||Dayton, OH||69,072,565||216||NA||T.J. Becker|
|73||Loeb Electric Co.||Columbus, OH||69,000,000||125||7||C.A. Loeb|
|74||Western Extralite Co.||Kansas City, MO||69,000,000||210||12||T. Isenberg|
|75||Yale Electrical Supply Co. Inc.||Boston, MA||68,000,000||36||4||W. Sheinkopf|
|76||Rural Electric Supply Co. aka RESCO||Madison, WI||66,500,000||49||4||J. Strom|
|77||Eoff Electric||Salem, OR||66,000,000||172||9||L. Williamson|
|78||Codale Electric Supply Inc.||Salt Lake City, UT||65,000,000 e||107||5||D. Holt|
|79||Reed City Power Line||Reed City, MI||65,000,000||44||3||M.R. Bigford|
|80||Revere Electric Supply Co.||Chicago, IL||65,000,000||130||5||T. Eiseman|
|81||Shepherd Electric Co. Inc.||Baltimore, MD||62,500,000||130||2||C.C. Vogel III|
|82||Friedman Electric Supply Co.||Exeter, PA||NA||205||9||R.C. Friedman|
|83||QED Inc.||Denver, CO||60,436,382||129||7||D. Stauffer|
|84||Locke Wholesale Electric Supply||Oklahoma City, OK||60,306,692||215e||5e||C. Marsh|
|85||DH Supply Co. Inc.||Atlanta, GA||NA||NA||5e||D.H. Hicks Jr.|
|86||Electro-Matic Products Inc.||Farmington Hills, MI||NA||100||NA||J. Baker|
|87||Omni Cable Corp.||West Chester, PA||NA||103||7||J. Siegfried|
|88||Minnesota Electric Supply Co.||Willmar, MN||58,137,000||130||8||S. Peterson|
|89||Electrical Distributors Co.||San Jose, CA||58,049,817||122||4||C. Lehmann|
|90||Edson Electric Supply Inc.||Phoenix, AZ||57,700,000||115||9e||B. Edson|
|91||Argo International Corp. (of Delcal Enterprises)||New York, NY||56,307,786||140e||27||J. Santa Croce|
|92||J. H. Larson Electrical Co.||Golden Valley, MN||56,000,000||162e||7||G. Pahl|
|93||Western United Electric Supply Corp.||Brighton, CO||55,500,000||23||1||R.L. Schott|
|94||Crawford Electric Supply||Dallas, TX||55,000,000||55||2||C. Levering|
|95||Schaedler Yesco Distribution||Harrisburg, PA||55,000,000||135||4||J.D. Schaedler|
|96||Hite Co., The||Altoona, PA||53,500,000||188||16e||R. Hite|
|97||Tri-State Utility Products Inc.||Marietta, GA||NA||25||3||W.H. Patterson|
|98||Butler Supply Inc.||Fenton, MO||NA||185||23||R. Butler|
|99||JESCO/Interstate Wholesale Electrical Supplies Inc.||Sioux Center, IA||51,000,000||176||10||J. Franken/M. Lane|
|100||Industrial Electric Wire & Cable||New Berlin, WI||NA||NA||5e||D. Nestingen|
* Includes all North American sales.
** Acquired in 2002 by Independent Electric Supply.
^^ Electrical sales account for about 18% of total company sales.
e Estimated by the respondent or by the authors.
NA Not available.
Note: Sales and employee figures cover electrical business only.