HD Supply White Cap, an HD Supply company, has opened a 44,000 square foot distribution center and regional offices in Arlington, Texas. The facility will improve inventory availability throughout the South Central markets by consolidating all purchasing, receiving and distribution activities for more than 300 vendors.
Avnet, Inc. entered a joint venture agreement with Sanko Holding Group in Turkey. Avnet will acquire a 50.01 percent interest of the joint venture, which will include the operations of Akora Technology and Industry Corporation, a Sanko affiliate company, making the joint venture one of the largest IT distributors in Turkey.
The Bosch Group has acquired the power tool accessories business of the Freud Group, Milan, Italy. The Freud Group is a global supplier of circular-saw blades, router bits, and cutters for woodworkers, professional and industrial users, with sales of 100 million euros in 2007 (US$138.71 million).
Barnes Group Inc., Bristol, CT, international aerospace and industrial components manufacturer and logistical services company, has sold several of its units in the UK. The UK Motalink business, Corsham, England, was sold, as well as certain assets of its UK direct sales to car dealerships unit, and the systems and catalog unit. The Logistics and Manufacturing Services management team in Europe is also exiting the Corsham facility, eliminating the telesales and back office functions currently at the site.
Crane Co., Stamford, CT, a diversified manufacturer of highly engineered industrial products, acquired Friedrich Krombach GmbH &Company KG Armaturenwerke and Krombach International GmbH, both of Kreuztal, Germany. Krombach is a manufacturer of specialty valve flow products for the power, oil and gas, and chemical markets, employing 640 people globally.
84 Lumber has closed another five stores and two truss plants in the last week, according to Home Channel News. In addition, 28 positions at the corporate level were eliminated in the last three weeks. The Pennsylvania-based lumberyard chain closed 20 stores in October.
Actuant Corp., Milwaukee, WI, reported sales of $380 million for the first quarter ended Nov. 30, a decline of 8 percent over the same period a year ago. Excluding the impact of currency exchange rates and acquisitions, sales declined 11 percent. Profit dropped 58 percent to $11.6 million.
More manufacturers reported cost cuts, including Gibraltar Industries Inc., Buffalo, NY, and Regal Beloit Corp., Beloit, WI. Regal Beloit is a $1.8 billion manufacturer of mechanical and electrical motors and generators. Gibraltar Industries will close its Enterprise, MS, facility and consolidate its operations into two other existing facilities. Regal Beloit is closing a Leeson Electric plant. Baldor Electric, Fort Smith, AR, will cut an estimated 900 jobs by next June through attrition and retirement.
Titan Machinery Inc., Fargo, ND, has agreed to acquire Western Plains Machinery Co., and WP Rentals consisting of nine construction equipment locations in Montana and Wyoming. The acquisition will expand Titan’s footprint into those two states.
Illinois Tool Works Inc., Glenview, IL, reported an operating revenue increase of 2.4 percent for the three months ended Nov. 30, 2008. Revenue growth was driven by contributions from acquisitions. Base revenues were negative for the three month period as North American and international end markets declined significantly in the month of November.
In a pre-close statement for the year ending Dec. 31, 2008, Bunzl plc reported group revenue was consistent with expectations. The group experienced growth in all geographic areas, led by acquisitions in most areas.
Avnet Technology Solutions, an operating group of Avnet, Inc., has launched its solutions distribution business in China, expanding its geographic footprint in the Asia Pacific region. Avnet Technology Solutions, China, builds on and extends Avnet’s existing integration and components businesses in China.
Executives of U.S. wholesale-distributors have altered their growth and operational strategies to offset sector weaknesses and the rising costs of doing business, mainly associated with labor and energy, according to a report released by RSM McGladrey. Increasing brand recognition is the most popular growth tactic cited, increasing from 44 percent in 2007 to 49 percent this year. Strategies that saw a sharp decline -according to the survey -include vertical integration, creating private label products and growing with large retailers.
In constant dollars, Canadian manufacturing sales decreased 1.8 percent compared with September, bringing constant dollar sales to their lowest level since December 2001. In October, eight of 21 manufacturing industries, accounting for about 40 percent of total sales, posted decreases. The Canada/U.S. exchange rate, as well as a notable decrease in the price of petroleum and coal products, both affected October’s manufacturing results.
U.S. industrial production decreased 0.6 percent in November with declines widespread across industries. Manufacturing production dropped 1.4 percent in November despite the resumption of activity in the commercial aircraft industry after the resolution of a strike early in the month. At 106.1 percent of its 2002 average, total industrial production in November was 5.5 percent below its level of a year earlier. The capacity utilization rate for total industry fell to 75.4 percent, a level 5.6 percentage points below its average level from 1972 to 2007.
Canadian industries operated at 77.4 percent of their capacity, down from 77.7 percent in the second quarter, according to Statistics Canada. This was the rate’s lowest level since data were first kept in 1987. The rate in the third quarter of 2008 was 9.7 percentage points below its peak of 87.1 percent reached in the fourth quarter of 2000. In the transportation equipment manufacturing industry, almost two-thirds of which consists of automobile and parts manufacturers, capacity utilization fell for the fourth consecutive quarter to 71.1 percent, the lowest since the fourth quarter of 1992.
The Canadian economy is on shaky ground”and is headed for a short and relatively shallow recession, according to Review of the Canadian Economy 2008-2009, a new Manufacturers Alliance/MAPI report. Real gross domestic product (GDP) growth slowed to 1.3% at an annualized rate in the third quarter of 2008. The consensus forecast is for a 0.9 percentage point decline in real GDP in 2009, reflecting substantial declines in exports as well as a drastic slowdown in domestic demand. The Canadian manufacturing sector will be harder hit, with industrial production forecast to decline by a further 3.2% in 2009. This decline, though, is expected to occur in the first half of the year, with growth returning to slightly positive territory by the third quarter of 2009, contingent on improvement in the economy.
The Producer Price Index for Finished Goods fell 2.2 percent in November, seasonally adjusted, the Bureau of Labor Statistics of the U.S. Department of Labor reported. This decline followed decreases of 2.8 percent in October and 0.4 percent in September. At the earlier stages of processing, prices received by manufacturers of intermediate goods dropped 4.3 percent in November after falling 3.9 percent in the prior month, and the crude goods index declined 12.5 percent subsequent to an 18.6-percent decrease in October.
Privately-owned housing starts in November were at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 625,000, 18.9 percent below the revised October estimate of 771,000 and is 47 percent below the revised November 2007 rate of 1,179,000. Single-family housing starts in November were at a rate of 441,000; this is 16.9 percent below the October figure of 531,000. The November rate for units in buildings with five units or more was 166,000.