3. Don’t be Surprised if Sonepar and Rexel Continue to Increase Their Focus on Global Oil & Gas Markets.
Sonepar is ending the year with a flurry of acquisitions in Southeast Asia, but Rexel has also been bolstering its holdings in the region over the past few years. While the two largest distributors in the world are best known in the United States for their acquisitions of dozens of family-owned distributors over the past few decades, during 2014 their attention globally was squarely on distributors focused on the oil & gas and automation markets. Sonepar SA, Paris, bought several Rockwell Automation distributors, including Routeco Group Holdings, the largest automation distributor in Great Britain; Singapore’s HoST Pte Ltd., said to be the oldest Rockwell Automation distributor outside of North America; and Melexa, Bogota, Colombia; as well as distributors in Australia, Canada, the Czech Republic, Costa Rica and Germany.
Rexel was busy, too, with its acquisitions of oil & gas specialist 4 Knights International, Bangkok, Thailand; Beijing Ouneng, a Chinese automation specialist; Elevite, a Swiss lighting specialist; and AL-Hobayb Group, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, another oil & gas specialist.