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This new-look issue offers research on suppliers’ changing purchase minimums, distributors’ (lack of) AI progress and geopolitical impacts; and updates on Ferguson, Home Depot-SRS Distribution and more.
This issue compares AI adoption rates in manufacturing vs. distribution; explores Grainger’s role as a ‘Problem-Solver’; examines Border States’ acquisition path; and shares takeaways from the MODEX expo.

Market Insight Reports

See our in-depth M&A articles from the first three months of 2024, including the Home Depot-SRS blockbuster; the acquisition strategy for Ferguson and Border States; and the latest EBITDA trading multiples.
Find a wealth of data and analysis extracted from the 1Q24 Baird-MDM Industrial Distribution Survey, including trending charts and figures for revenue and expectations, plus plenty of interesting commentary.
The report features in-depth articles that recap the year that was 2023 in distribution dealmaking, a full rundown of every deal we covered in October-December, the latest EBITDA trading multiples and more.
Find a wealth of data and analysis extracted from the 3Q23 Baird-MDM Industrial Distribution Survey, including trending charts and figures for revenue and expectations, plus plenty of interesting commentary.
Find a wealth of data and analysis extracted from the 3Q23 Baird-MDM Industrial Distribution Survey, including trending charts and figures for revenue and expectations, plus plenty of interesting commentary.

HD Supply White Cap Construction Supply, a business of HD Supply, has agreed to acquire GSI General Materials LLC, a distributor of concrete accessories, forming systems and fabricated rebar.

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GSI operates two North Carolina facilities and two South Carolina locations, and employs 72.

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HD Supply White Cap Construction Supply is the construction supply business unit within The Home Depot's HD Supply Division, a distributor of specialty hardware, tools and materials targeting construction contractors.

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With the addition of GSI General Materials, HD Supply White Cap Construction Supply will operate 160 branches in 27 states.

Related Links:
<A href=/pub/1_1/breaking-news/3740-1.html ...

New Orders
New orders for manufactured durable goods in January decreased $17.1 billion or 7.8 percent to $203.9 billion, the U.S. Census Bureau announced in a preliminary release. This followed two consecutive monthly increases including a 2.8 percent December increase. Excluding transportation, new orders decreased 3.1 percent. Excluding defense, new orders decreased 7.8 percent.


Shipments of manufactured durable goods in January, up five of the last six months, increased $0.5 billion or 0.2 percent to $211.4 billion. This followed a 0.5 percent December increase.

Unfilled Orders

Unfilled orders for manufactured durable goods in January, up twenty of the last twenty-one months, increased $1.0 ...

Stockholm, Sweden-based AxIndustries has acquired AB Sverull, a distributor of bearings, transmissions and seals, also based in Sweden.

Sverull has annual sales of SEK 125 million with more than 45 employees&nbsp ; at offices in five cities.

After the acquisition, AxIndustries will have annual sales of more than SEK 600 million in bearings, transmissions and seals. It has mroe than SEK 1.1 billion in sales overall. AxIndustries is a part of Axel Johnson International.

Sverull will continue to be run as an independent company in AxIndustries.

More Breaking ...

Higher electricity and energy prices, as well as metals prices, have led Airgas, Inc., Radnor, PA, to increase prices on packaged and bulk gases, and other products.

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We are facing rising costs, even though the escalation of the past year has moderated, said Airgas Chairman and CEO Peter McCausland.

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Prices will increase, on average:

  • 10%-15% for packaged and bulk industrial gases, including oxygen, nitrogen, and argon; acetylene and other fuel gases; specialty gases; process chemicals and rare gases; medical gases; nitrous oxide, carbon dioxide, hydrogen, and dry ice;

  • 15%-25% for helium

Effective immediately, Airgas also will raise rental rates for cylinders and bulk tanks ...

USG Corp, Chicago, IL, announced its specialty distribution subsidiary, L & W Supply, will acquire California Wholesale Material Supply Inc. for $280 million.

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California Wholesale Material Supply is a distributor of building materials with annual sales of $600 million. It has 30 locations in seven Western states and Mexico and nearly 900 employees.

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The acquisition is expected to help USG enhance L & W's reach on the West Coast and in the Southwest.

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L & W Supply contributes about $2.5 billion to USG's annual sales.

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USG also announced it would build a new plant in northern California to manufacture about 1 billion square feet of SHEETROCK ...

Industrial production decreased 0.5 percent in January after an increase of 0.5 percent in December. Output in the manufacturing sector declined 0.7 percent in January; about one-half of the decrease was a result of a drop of 6 percent in motor vehicles and parts.

The output of utilities rebounded 2.3 percent, as temperatures moved back toward seasonal norms, while the output of mines moved down 1.2 percent. At 111.9 percent of its 2002 average, overall industrial output for the month was 2.6 percent above its January 2006 level.

The rate of capacity utilization in January fell 0.6 percentage point, to 81.2 percent. Even so, it was 0.1 percentage point above its year-earlier level and 0.2 percentage point above its 1972-2006 average.

Market ...

Wolseley CEO Chip Hornsby sat down with MDM recently to talk about the distributor's market moves, its localized strategy, the current housing market and the importance of leadership training. Hornsby also addressed the $25-billion global distributor's potential expansion into new but complementary sectors, which should slow while the company digests the acquisitions it has made in the past 18 months.

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Wolseley is the parent company of Stock Building Supply and HVAC/plumbing distributor Ferguson in the U.S. The second part of this interview, focused on Wolseley's European ambitions, will be in the March 10 issue of MDM.

MDM: What are the key issues for Wolseley in North America to develop markets in terms of services, product mix, ...

In the mid-1990s, Mayer Electric Supply, Birmingham, AL, prepared and mailed its invoices and statements in-house. The distributor had employees who printed the mailings on high-speed printers at night and used a machine to fold and stuff the mailings. It also maintained a Pitney-Bowes postal machine.

It was quite a cost factor to do all of that, says Mayer Electric CIO Barry Carden.

So Mayer started looking at outsourcing its paper billing. The electrical distributor, which serves mostly the Southeast U.S., found a provider in 2001. Despite a few issues - like some double mailings - the service worked well and saved Mayer time and money. But that company was sold to a larger corporation, which decided to cut smaller customers out of the mix, including ...

Company Snapshot:

  • Number of branches: 45

  • Number of employees: 450

  • Key customer base: Food processing, manufacturing, industrial

Inventory management provides both a challenge and an opportunity for all distributors. Our stock is our lifeline. If we do not maintain adequate supplies of merchandise, we lose sales. On the other hand, inventory costs money. The ongoing struggle is to have just the proper amount on hand, but not too much.

In past years, we've fallen into the distributor habit of not thinking about surplus inventory until the end of the year. During an annual inventory taking, it was obvious that we had accumulated way too much stock on our shelves.

Recently, we've ...

Wholesaler-distributor revenues were $3.903 trillion last year, up 9.8% from 2005, unadjusted for seasonal variations. Wholesale revenues for durable goods were up 8.8%, and nondurable goods sales were up 11%. The increase in sales was slower than in years' past, partly due to a slowdown in commodity inflation.

The MDM Inflation Index, which measures a cross-section of industrial supplies, rose 3.47 percent from December 2005 to December 2006. In comparison, the index rose 5.58% from December 2004 to December 2005. Here's the breakdown in sales by sector for 2006.


December 2006 sales of merchant wholesalers, except manufacturers' sales branches and offices, were $337.1 billion, up 1.8 percent from the revised November level and were up 8.6 percent from the December 2005 level. December sales of durable goods increased 1.1 percent from last month and were up 7.0 percent from a year ago. Compared to last month, sales of hardware and plumbing and heating equipment and supplies were up 4.2 percent and sales of motor vehicle and motor vehicle parts and supplies increased 2.9 percent. December sales of nondurable goods were up 2.5 percent from last month and were up 10.2 percent from last year.

Inventories . Total inventories of merchant wholesalers, except manufacturers' sales ...

Last week saw a feeding frenzy of rumors in distribution, with action on both sides of the Atlantic. The biggest hunters suddenly became the hunted.

The history of independent distribution channels has repeatedly provided pointed lessons that size, more often than not, is the real giant slayer. It is tough to institutionalize flexibility and strong service levels - the hallmark of local distribution - across states, much less international borders. The next few years may tell whether there is an opportunity to create a global platform that doesn't self destruct on its own growth plans.

Some might say too much money is overheating valuations and expectations. The surprise is that the M & A market in distribution (and overall) remains hot in 2007, with most expecting ...

HD Supply reported sales of $12.07 billion in fiscal 2006, an increase of 161.6 percent over 2005. Most of that growth was driven by the almost $4 billion in acquisitions made in the past year when HD Supply bought diversified distributor Hughes Supply for $3.4 billion. In the fourth quarter 2006, sales for HD Supply grew by 64.4 percent to $2.9 billion. In 2006, the retail division had sales of $79 billion, up 2.6 percent. Overall, sales at The Home Depot were $90.8 billion, 11.4 percent over last year, with profit steady at $5.8 billion. Comparable store sales for the year were down 2.8 percent. Home Depot had a slow fourth quarter, with profit falling 28 percent to $925 million from $1.3 billion last year. Sales in the fourth quarter were $20.3 billion overall, ...

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 ...

Praxair Inc., Danbury, CT, has agreed to buy The Linde Group's industrial and medical gases business in Mexico. Linde's Mexican business operates under the name of AGA S.A. de C.V. The transaction excludes the Mexican assets of the BOC Group, which Linde acquired as part of its acquisition of BOC.

The sale of Linde's Mexican business is part of a mutual agreement between Praxair and Linde under which Linde acquired the Turkey-based industrial gases producer Karbogaz A. S. in July 2006. Karbogaz was formerly a joint venture company between Praxair and Ismail Aytemiz of Istanbul, Turkey.

AGA S.A. de C.V. has sales of about $75 million in fiscal 2006.

The acquisition of AGA S.A. de C.V. will increase our presence in the metropolitan area of Mexico City and place ...

Interline Brands, Jacksonville, FL, reported sales for fiscal 2006, increased 25% to $1.068 billion. Average organic daily sales grew 8.3%.

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Profit was $31.2 million in 2006, compared with $28.8 million in 2005.

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The acquisition of AmSan in July 2006 added $129.8 million to the second half of 2006, and the acquisition of Copperfield in July 2005 added $18.6 million the first half of 2006. Average daily sales growth, as a result, grew 25.8% for the year.

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In the fourth quarter 2006, sales grew 30% to $67.3 million. Average daily sales growth was 29.8%. Average organic daily sales growth was 2.6%.

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Interline's facilities maintenance market, representing 60% of sales in the fourth quarter, ...

Milacron Inc., Cincinnati, OH, reported a net loss for the year of $39.7 million, compared with a net loss of $14 million in 2005.

Sales in 2006 reached $820 million, up from $809 million in 2005. New orders were $828 million compared to $819 million in the prior year.

In the fourth quarter of 2006 of $8.6 million, including $5.1 million in restructuring costs and $1.8 million in refinancing charges. This compared to net earnings in the fourth quarter of 2005 of $5.8 million, which included a $5.5 million tax benefit.

Fourth quarter sales were $198 million, down from $217 million in the year-ago quarter. New orders were $203 million, compared to $212 million in 2005. The bulk of new orders came late in the quarter, which negatively impacted ...

Release taken from Statistics Canada

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Wholesalers ended the year on a high note, with the automotive sector providing much of the impetus for the largest monthly gain in over two years.

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Wholesale sales jumped&nbsp ; 2.7% in December to&nbsp ; $42.8&nbsp ; billion, following a 0.3% rise in November. December's increase was the largest since March&nbsp ; 2004.

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While a solid showing by the automotive sector (+7.5%) was behind much of December's rise, there were also notable gains in the other products" (mainly agricultural products, chemicals and recycled metals), personal and household goods and building materials sectors. Three sectors registered drops in ...

Industrial Distribution Group, Inc. Atlanta, GA, reported sales of $547.9 million in 2006, up 2.9% on an organic basis. Profit was $6.8 million for 2006, compared with $5.4 million in 2005.

Revenue for the fourth quarter 2006 was $131.6 million, a 1.1% increase from $130.1 million in 2005. Profit for the fourth quarter of 2006 was $1.9 million compared with the 2005 profit of $1.5 million.

For the fourth quarter 2006, revenue from the Flexible Procurement Solutions(tm) (FPS) services, including storeroom management, was $80.5 million, or 61.2% of total revenue compared to $74.91 million, or 57.6% of total revenue in the prior-year period, reflecting a growth rate of 7.5%.

Total FPS revenue in 2006 ...

Paris-based Rexel, a global electrical distributor, has filed regulatory documents with France's market regulator,&nbsp ; AMF,&nbsp ; in the first step towards a possible listing of Rexel on Euronext Paris. (The filing, found here by MDM on AMF's Web site, is in French.)

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Rexel was bought about two years ago by a group of private equity firms, including Merrill Lynch, Eurazeo and Clayton, Dubilier & Rice. A spokesman for Rexel told Agence France-Presse that the filing made with the ...

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