Sonepar Makes Two Big Global Acquisitions

Sonepar, Paris, the world's largest electrical distributor, further expanded its presence last month with major purchases in New Zealand and Spain.

Fletcher Building Limited, a diverse publicly owned construction company based in Auckland, New Zealand, entered into a conditional agreement to sell its electrical products distribution business Corys Electrical to Sonepar SA.

Corys Electrical was acquired by Fletcher Building as part its Crane Group acquisition in 2011. The price for the transaction is approximately US$71.4 million. Corys Electrical has sold electrical supplies in New Zealand since the 1920s and according to its website currently runs 36 locations.

Spanish distributor AME Material Electrico SA joined Sonepar Iberica, according to a press release on Sonepar SA's website. The release said AME Material Electrico has 14 branches in the Valencia region; 250 associates; and 2011 revenues of €68 million (approximately $88.37 million).

The company was formed through the merger in 2000 of Comercial Antonio Chust, founded in 1925, Suministros Electricos Ferrer SA, Electrododura and Codime. It's a full-line distributor of electrical equipment and reportedly has a strong position in the industrial market and a modern, automated central warehouse in Valencia. Anton Chust, one of the founders and currently the company's managing director, will stay with the distributor.

According to its website, Sonepar did not have any locations in New Zealand until the Corys acquisition, so adding 36 branches gives them a major foothold in the country. Sonepar's Australian operating subsidiary, Lawrence & Hanson Group (L&H), operates more than 180 branches run by five different distributors: L&H, Auslec, L&H Solar + Solutions, Pacific Datacom and Specialised Lighting Solutions. Some of these businesses were apparently part of Sonepar's 2008 acquisition of Hagemeyer's Australian operations, according to information on the L&H and Auslec websites. These businesses are part of Sonepar's Asia-Pacific business, managed by Keith Moss, president of the Sonepar Asia-Pacific region.

Sonepar has made headlines over the past two years with several large acquisitions: its purchases of Codale Electric Supply, Salt Lake City; Dixon Electric, Sudbury, Ontario; Independent Electrical Distributors, San Carlos, Calif.; One Source Distributors, San Diego; Rosa Leal, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil; SESCO/QUESCO, Toronto, Ontario; and Treadway Electric Co., Little Rock, Ark. In 2011, the company had sales of approximately $19 billion and 33,000 employees.

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