May 10, 2008 - Modern Distribution Management

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May 10, 2008

The Outlook for Distribution

The non-profit NAW Institute for Distribution Excellence just released the 2008 Wholesale Distribution Economic Reports, so it's a good time to check up on the general economic situation for wholesale distribution industry, review the performance of building products and industrial distribution in 2007, and check in on the economic outlook.
The evidence of a slowdown is inescapable at this point. The residential construction boom will take at least a few years -not a few months -to unwind. Both home sales and residential construction activity are unlikely to rebound until mid-2009 and possibly later. Meanwhile, industrial distributors will face an overall slowing market, although some manufacturing sub-sectors will experience robust growth in 2008. ...

Sonepar USA on the Hagemeyer Deal

Sonepar USA CEO Tony Burr recently spoke with MDM on the distributor's plans to buy Hagemeyer assets, the state of the economy and the impact of copper and fuel prices on the electrical distributor's business. In this article, Burr says Sonepar will treat the acquisition of certain Hagemeyer assets much like it does other acquisitions by keeping management and the company's way of doing things in place.
Sonepar will likely keep Hagemeyer as a standalone operation after acquiring certain of its assets from Rexel. The plan will probably be to keep it as a standalone operation,"Tony Burr, Sonepar USA CEO, tells MDM. "It has a different customer base, predominantly, and a different market approach."
Sonepar USA's parent company -Paris-based Sonepar -has agreed ...

Q&A with Tony Burr: The Economy, Commodity Prices and Finding Talent

Sonepar USA CEO Tony Burr provides his view on the state of the economy, the impact of copper and fuel prices on the electrical distributor's business, and attracting new talent to the industry.

MDM: How do you view the current state of the economy?
Tony Burr: We cannot exempt ourselves from what is going on in the economy. The marketplace is difficult. We all see what is happening in construction, and a chunk of our business is in that. We are also in commercial, which is holding up reasonably well. One of the things I did a few years ago when I started buying up companies here for Sonepar was to spread our risk. I moved us away from being totally contractor-related.

That's when we got into the utility- ...

Trends in Distribution Centers

As transportation costs go up, and lead times go down, the ability to respond quickly to customer needs has grown more important. As a result, among those businesses that plan to add distribution facilities in 2008, there is a lean toward larger buildings to hold more inventory.

This is according to the latest Facilities Trends 2007 report from the Warehouse Education Research Council. The report is a study on physical characteristics of companies'distribution networks based on a survey of WERC members.

The report, done every five years, presents data that distribution managers can use to benchmark facilities and compares today's information with data collected in the last survey to help identify and understand trends and anticipate how current trends may affect ...

Monthly Wholesale Trade: Sales and Inventories March 2008

March 2008 sales of wholesalers, after adjustment for seasonal variations and trading-day differences but not for price changes, were $384.3 billion, up 1.6 percent from the revised February level and up 12.6 percent from March 2007. The February preliminary estimate was revised upward 0.2 percent.

March sales of durable goods were up 2.3 percent from last month and up 4.8 percent from a year ago. Compared to last month, motor vehicle and motor vehicle parts and supplies were up 4.5 percent and sales of metals and minerals, except petroleum, were up 3.5 percent. Sales of nondurable goods were up 1.0 percent from last month and were up 20.1 percent from last year. Sales of farm product raw materials were up 9.4 percent from last month and sales of beer, wine, and distilled ...

Commentary: Tangential Markets Provide Growth Paths

The economic outlook in our lead article notes that the link between industrial distribution revenues and manufacturing activity has weakened as traditional industrial distributors have diversified into more general commercial facility supply.

I have certainly seen distributors push hard into new product sectors and customer segments in the past five years with great success. You could argue that this trend is the natural outcome of how industrial channels have matured since the 1980s. Systems contracts emerged as the first step to manage MRO industrial supply procurement from a process versus product focus. Yes, there were clearly some similar models in the first part of the 20th century, but manufacturers held a different position in controlling distribution channels. ...

Purchasing Executives Expect Slow Growth in Manufacturing

Purchasing Execs Expect Slow Growth in Manufacturing

Manufacturing businesses have concerns about their organizations'prospects for 2008, according to the latest semiannual forecast issued by the Business Survey Committee of the Institute for Supply Management. While 42 percent of manufacturing respondents predict revenues to be 9.2 percent greater in 2008 than in 2007, the overall expected revenue increase is only 1 percent for manufacturing as 31 percent expect a decline, and 27 percent expect no change.
Here's a breakdown of the survey results:

  • Operating rate is currently 78.6 percent of normal capacity.
  • Production capacity is expected to increase 2.5 percent ...

WESCO: Bid for IDG Was a `Full and Fair Valuation’

In WESCO's recent conference call on its first-quarter earnings, CFO Stephen Van Oss addressed the distributor's ultimately withdrawn bid for Industrial Distribution Group in April:

(IDG) strategically fit our business well and they have done a good job on those types of programs with smaller customers, where WESCO's programs tend to be with much larger engagements. … Additionally, they had a number of specialty businesses, some of which lined up nicely with WESCO's strength, such as the manufactured housing area, where we could leverage our infrastructure nicely and bring in some new products sets to get better penetration."

Van Oss said that WESCO felt it had a "full and fair valuation"with its $11.75 bid ($0.05 less than Platinum Equity's bid) and the ...

MDM News Digest 3809

Atlanta, GA-based Industrial Distribution Group, Inc., will move forward with a plan to be acquired by Luther King Capital Management, accepting the private equity firm's $12.10 per share offer -close to $136 million. Platinum Equity notified IDG that it will not match or beat LKCM's bid. LKCM said it would reimburse IDG for the 3 percent break-up fee required when IDG breaks the Platinum merger agreement. More
HD Supply White Cap, Costa Mesa, CA, distributor of specialty hardware, tools and materials for large and medium-sized contractors, has entered the Minneapolis-St. Paul market with the opening of a 6,000-square-foot warehouse.  More
The Home ...

New MDM Webcast: Distribution M&A 2008 Update – Value Redefined in a Tough Market

Debt markets turned upside down, valuations dropped, and deals have slowed. What a difference a year makes! Strategic buyers have resurfaced as private equity's hands have been tied in a very different landscape than 12 months ago. There are new drivers and definitions of value in 2008, but there are also good opportunities for distributors to capitalize in the new environment -on the buy and sell sides.

What's the impact for your company? Join MDM on May 22 as three seasoned M&A experts share their insight on the 2008 distribution M&A market. In this two-hour Webcast, you'll hear practical tips from professionals with deep experience helping distribution executives navigate deals across a range of company sizes, sectors and ownership structures.

Our three panelists ...

MDM May 10, 2008

This is the pdf of this issue of Modern Distribution Management. Apply the full $24.95 pay-per-view cost toward an annual subscription (within 30 days of purchase), which includes two issues a month plus access to more than six years of online archives and market data. Call 1-888-742-5060 or email to ...

PT/MC Sales Drop 7.6% in March

The Power Transmission Distributors Association (PTDA) today released the March 2008 month-end trend data for distributors and manufacturers of power transmission/motion control (PT/MC) products. All categories posted a decline in sales for the first time in 2008.
U.S. distributors'sales of PT/MC products dropped 7.6% in March 2008 compared to February 2008.  When matched up against sales in the same month last year, sales in March 2008 gained 1.1%. Accounts receivable collection days experienced its first increase in 2008, up 7.7% from February 2008. The confidence index of U.S. distributors remained flat for the fourth month in a row at 5.8 (on a 10-point scale).
Canadian distributors also reported a drop in PT/MC sales, falling 7.9% in March 2008. Sales ...

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