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Sonepar distribution buys Eagle Electric supply

Sonepar Distribution, Inc., Paris, France, bought Eagle Electric Supply Co., Inc., Norwood, Mass. Sonepar plans to make Eagle Electric a platform for aggressive acquisition in the United States. Terms of the agreement were not disclosed.

Sonepar has been in the Canadian market since the mid-1980s, and now has 76 sales outlets and 900 employees in Canada. Sonepar was known to have been in acquisition talks with several U.S. distributors, including WESCO Distribution, during the past few years.

The decision to finally enter the U.S. market came simply because it found a strong company ready to sell, according to Richard Worthy, president and chief executive officer of Sonepar Distribution U.S., a former GE executive who was tapped to build Sonepar's U.S. presence.

Eagle Electric Supply, with approximately 134 employees, two locations and about $70 million in annual sales, is the nation's 85th-largest electrical distributor. Sonepar has more than 14,000 employees and 923 branches in 17 European countries and Canada. The company had approximately $6.2 billion in electrical and electronic sales in 1997.

Tom Golding, owner of Eagle Electric Supply, will remain president. Worthy expects to grow Sonepar's eastern U.S. regional sales into the $200-million-to-$250-million range in the next three years.

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