Day: April 10, 2010

Tracking Commodity Prices

Commodity prices have seen sharp ups and downs over the past two years. MDM spoke with experts to gain a broad perspective on current trends in key commodity price shifts and forecasts that impact distributors across many sectors. Included in this analysis: copper, iron ore (steel), lumber and gypsum.

Two years ago prices for finished steel and the products needed to manufacture it reached record highs. Price contracts couldn't keep up with spot price increases and were often abandoned by suppliers.

After just a few months, prices plummeted to lows that made "breaking even" questionable …

New Wolseley CEO Outlines Strategy

At Wolseley’s first-half 2010 results call with analysts and investors, new Chief Executive Ian Meakins spoke for the first time at length about his plans for the struggling global distributor of HVAC/plumbing and building material products.

In one of his first in-depth presentations as the new chief executive of Wolseley, Ian Meakins was blunt with his appraisal of the global distributor’s business, which has seen some big highs and dramatic lows in the past five years.

Tool Market Shifts Again

Cooper Industries and Danaher Corp. recently announced they would be merging their tool businesses in a joint venture. The soon-to-be CEO of the new joint venture, which is expected to close by the end of the second quarter, spoke to MDM about why the tool businesses were a good fit, and how the deal will impact distributors.

Danaher Corp. and Cooper Industries will be entering a joint venture to combine their Danaher Tool Group and Cooper Tools businesses. Danaher Tool Group executive Steve Breitzka, who will lead the joint venture when it closes at the end of second quarter, said that current market conditions provided …

Commentary: Airgas, HD Supply Fight Impacts of Turbulent Times

Nearly every distributor took a beating in 2009. A few are still getting kicked while they're down. If you're a competitor to Airgas or HD Supply, that turmoil couldn't come at a better time.

Case 1: Airgas is in a fight for its life. In February, Air Products made a hostile bid for Airgas. It has been getting more hostile since. The investor analysis by Air Products is at And here are the documents Airgas has produced for its investors to fight the offer.