News of the Electrical Industry

CED TO BUY ALL-PHASE All-Phase Electric Supply Co., for years one of the most active acquirers in the electrical industry, announced plans to be acquired byConsolidated Electrical Distributors, Inc. (CED), Westlake Village, Calif.

With 90 locations, 1,469 employees and 1998 revenues of $570 million, All-Phase ranks as the eighth largest electrical distributor in the nation, according to Electrical Wholesaling's 250 Biggest listing. CED, the third largest electrical distributor in the U.S., has 442 locations, according to Electrical Wholesaling's 250 Biggest listing.

All-Phase, Benton Harbor, Mich., would continue to operate as a separate company of CED, said Ken Renwick, All-Phase's president and chief executive officer. Ron Kinney, All-Phase's chairman of the board, and Renwick would continue to manage the day-to-day operations. Richard Kinney, All-Phase's executive vice president, will pursue opportunities outside of All-Phase, according to Renwick. Stephen Kinney, who also was executive vice president, left All-Phase in April 1998.

T&B TO BUY RED DOT Jumping on an opportunity to buy the leader in weatherproof products and get into aluminum and zinc die-casting, Thomas & Betts Corp (T&B) acquired L.E. Mason Co., the parent of Red Dot.

T&B, Memphis, Tenn., said it issued about 785,000 shares of common stock-worth about $35.3 million in the company's closing price Sept. 7-in a stock-for-stock exchange. T&B said it also assumed about $12 million of debt.

Red Dot, Boston, Mass., will operate as a separate business unit within T&B's Commercial division, according to Neil Parker, president of T&B's Electrical Components division. Red Dot owners Harvey Berman, Neil Wolfson and John Frank will continue in their current positions at Red Dot and will assume expanded leadership roles within T&B, says Clyde Moore, T&B's president and chief executive officer.

Parker said the acquisition completes T&B's rough-in product offering in the weatherproof category where Red Dot, generally considered the market leader in weatherproof boxes and covers, has strong market share and adds to T&B's growing presence in the residential construction segment of the market.

TYCO TO BUY AFC Ending a lengthy courtship with Thomas & Betts Corp. (T&B), AFC Cable Systems, Inc. has agreed to sell the company to Tyco International Ltd. Hamilton, Bermuda. Tyco will pay about $575 million in stock for AFC Cable Systems, Inc., Providence, R.I. The companies intend to complete the merger during the second half of 1999.

AFC Cable had originally agreed in January to be acquired by T&B, Memphis, Tenn., but the deal fell apart in the midst of a Securities and Exchange Commission inquiry into the compensation AFC's chairman was to have received in the deal. The inquiry was resolved, but by early summer AFC had received offers from two other, then unidentified, suitors. Tyco was one of those suitors, and its offer topped T&B's all-stock bid, which recently was valued at about $35 an AFC share. T&B will collect a $16-million breakup fee.

HESCO DECISION UPHELD IN A-B LAWSUIT The Connecticut Supreme Court has ruled in favor of Hartford Electric Supply Co. (HESCO), West Hartford, Conn., confirming a lower court's finding that Rockwell Automation's Allen-Bradley Co. (A-B) violated the state's franchise and unfair trade practices laws. The ruling upholds a permanent injunction preventing A-B from terminating HESCO as an authorized distributor. A trial to determine compensatory and punitive damages is yet to be scheduled.

Rockwell Automation, Milwaukee, declined comment on the decision. The suit arose from a move by A-B to terminate HESCO in June 1996.

A-B cited poor market share and sales performance and shortcomings in staffing and training as reasons for the termination, but HESCO alleged that the move was based on personal animosity against Bill DePasquale, chief executive officer of HESCO, on the part of A-B regional and district managers.

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