Paris, France-based electrical distributor Rexel reported sales for the second quarter of €3.2 billion (US$4.3 billion), down 2.9 percent from the same period a year ago. On a constant, same-day basis, sales were up slightly. Profit nearly doubled for the period to €47.3 million (US$63.3 million), compared to €32 million (US$42.8 million) a year ago.
“2014 is going to be a transition year, with important leadership changes, as recently announced in North America, as well as structural investments in operational excellence and profitable growth, in order to support our medium-term ambitions,” CEO Rudy Provoost said.
In Europe (56 percent of group sales), second-quarter sales were flat in a year-over-year comparison at €1.8 billion (US$2.4 billion). Sales declined Germany (-1.2 percent) and the Netherlands (-9.4 percent), primarily due to sharp declined in photovoltaic sales. Sales also declined 3.4 percent in France and 0.2 percent in Switzerland. Sales grew in the U.K. (1.8 percent), Scandinavia (6.1 percent), Belgium (0.2 percent), Austria (2.1 percent) and the Southern European countries (3.2 percent).
Second-quarter sales in North America (33 percent of group sales) increased 3 percent on a constant, same-day basis to €1.1 billion (US$1.5 billion). U.S. sales grew 2.8 percent, reflecting sustained activity in residential and industrial end-markets, while the nonresidential market continues to lag behind. Canadian sales grew 3.5 percent, reflecting gradual improvement in project activity.
Asia-Pacific (9 percent) sales declined 3.2 percent on a constant, same-day basis, with declines in Southeast Asia, Australia and New Zealand. Sales in China were stable in the quarter.
In Latin America (2 percent), second-quarter sales were down 6.4 percent.
For the first six months, total group sales were €6.3 billion (US$8.4 billion), down 2.8 percent from the same period a year ago. On a constant, same-day basis, sales were up 0.5 percent. Profit increased 26.6 percent to €90.5 million (US$121.1 million).