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The U.S. Census Bureau's annual March revisions to wholesale trade revenues considerably lifted its largest sector - oil & gas - which likewise raised the latest MDM forecast modeling.

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Market Insight Reports

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.
Our 2023 third quarter M&A report features in-depth articles on activity by Ferguson and Veritiv, and chronicles the overall quarterly pace of new deals.
See MDM’s analysis of 2Q23 M&A activity pertaining to wholesale distributors, plus M&A financial benchmarks and recent Premium articles that had an M&A focus.

The Producer Price Index for Finished Goods declined 0.6 percent in January, seasonally adjusted, the Bureau of Labor Statistics of the U.S. Department of Labor reported. This decrease followed a 0.9-percent advance in December and a 1.8-percent jump in November. At the earlier stages of processing, prices for intermediate goods moved down 0.7 percent compared with a 0.5-percent increase in the prior month. The crude goods index decreased 6.3 percent after rising 2.8 percent in December.

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Among finished goods, prices for energy goods fell 4.6 percent in January following a 2.2-percent rise in the prior month. The rate of increase in the finished consumer foods index slowed to 1.1 percent in January from 1.5 percent in December. By contrast, prices for finished ...

Barnes Group Inc. announced 2006 sales of $1.3 billion, up 14% from $1.1 billion in 2005. Profit was $73.8 million, up 54% from the year before.

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Sales for the fourth quarter were $328.8 million, up 19% from the prior-year period. Income was $18.5 million, up 83%.

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All three of Barnes' business units recorded double-digit sales growth in the fourth quarter.

Full year 2006 sales at Barnes Distribution were $526.9 million, up 16% from $453.8 million in 2005.

Fourth quarter 2006 sales at Barnes Distribution were $141.6 million, up 26% from the same period last year. Driving the fourth quarter 2006 sales growth were broad-based increases in Barnes Distribution North America, including double-digit increases in ...

Rexnord LLC, Milwaukee, WI, power transmission and water management products supplier, reported sales of $283.1 million for the third quarter ended Dec. 30, 2006, up 7% from the prior-year period. &nbsp ; Income from operations grew 8.3% over the prior year to $18.2 million.

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Sales were impacted by the accident Dec. 6 at its Canal Street facility and the business interruption by about $15 to $20 million in sales.

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Rexnord reported overall positive trends in its business, with solid end markets. Order growth in the third quarter was 4.6%, slightly lower than the first six months of the fiscal year. The backlog sits at $386.6 million, 26% higher than the beginning of the fiscal year.

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Since the end of the quarter, ...

December U.S. manufacturing technology consumption totaled $321.35 million, according to The Association For Manufacturing Technology and the American Machine Tool Distributors' Association. This total, as reported by companies participating in the USMTC program, was down 6.9% from November, and down 0.5% from the total of $322.81 million reported for&nbsp ; December 2005. With a year-end total of $3,889.75 million, 2006 was up 26.8% compared with 2005.

These numbers and all data in this report are based on the totals of actual data reported by companies participating in the USMTC program.

2006 was an exceptional year, with the highest U.S. consumption since 2000, says John B. Byrd III, AMT President. Growth should continue in 2007, at a more modest pace, as ...

B & D Industrial, Macon, GA, a regional industrial distributor, has acquired Simco Technologies, an Atlanta-based distributor of industrial electronics, sensors, drives, motion control, machine safety and machine vision systems.

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The B & D Industrial holding company provides industrial products and services to mining, manufacturing, engineering and OEM companies from its almost 40 facilities in Georgia, Florida, North and South Carolina, Tennessee and Alabama.

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Simco Technologies' industrial automation products will complement the other areas of focus for B & D Industrial. Simco operates out of its branch ...

Saint-Gobain's Building Distribution Sector has acquired Galvano Groothandel BV (the Netherlands), Schulte Tiefbau (Germany) and four companies belonging to the Norman group (Channel Isles).

Galvano Groothandel BV is a plumbing-heating wholesaler in the Netherlands. With estimated sales of 84 million euros in 2006, the company has 177 employees. Through this acquisition, Saint-Gobain Building Distribution establishes a foothold on the Dutch distribution market for plumbing-heating products and strengthens its European Division dedicated to this market.

Germany's specialist civil engineering distributor, Schulte Tiefbau operates 13 branches specializing in water supply. With sales of 62 million euros ...

Ryerson Inc., Chicago, IL, reported sales of $5.9 billion for 2006, up 2.2% from 2005. Profit was $71.8 million, compared with $98.1 million in 2005.

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In the fourth quarter, Ryerson recorded a net loss of $4.4 million, compared with a profit of $6.3 million in 2005. Sales in the fourth quarter were $1.4 billion.

Fourth quarter 2006 volume, as anticipated, reflected the typical year-end slowdown, exacerbated by high inventories in a variety of products throughout the supply chain," said CEO Neil S. Novich. "Additionally, this excess industry-wide inventory, coupled with an extraordinary run up in stainless steel prices, due to nickel surcharges (up an average of about $700 per ton from the third ...

The New York Times reported today that some of the country's biggest buyout firms have approached Home Depot CEO Frank Blake - put in place after Robert Nardelli resigned&nbsp ; - with proposals to buy $12 billion HD Supply.

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The Times says analysts expect HD could sell the fast-growing division for $9 billion.

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The article goes on to discuss HD Supply's profit margins as slimmer than retail, and HD's need to find a way to grow the retail side of the company. Synergies between wholesale and retail have yet to be realized, according to the piece.

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Home Depot announced Monday that it was considering strategic alternatives for HD Supply, including a possible sale, spin off or initial public offering.

New ...

BlueLinx Holdings Inc., Atlanta, GA, distributor of building products, reported sales of $4.9 billion, down 12.9% from $5.62 billion a year ago, reflecting lower structural product prices and unit volume. Profit was $15.8 million, compared with $44.6 million a year ago.

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CEO Stephen Macadam said:&nbsp ; As a distributor of building products, we continued to experience a sharp drop in demand that began earlier in the year as housing starts continued their slowdown and prices for wood-based structural products remained sharply below year-ago levels. The fall-off in demand was exacerbated by ongoing inventory reductions throughout the supply chain, and by the normal seasonal business slowdown associated with the winter months.

Macadam said ...

Ferguson has acquired Grif-Fab Corporation, a distributor and fabricator of fire protection systems with three locations in Colorado, Arizona and New Mexico. In the year ended Nov. 30, 2006, Grif-Fab had revenue of $28.3 million.

UK-based Wolseley plc, Ferguson's parent company, has recently made three other bolt-on acquisitions in addition to the Grif-Fab buy. The four in total will add 29 million pounds, or $37.7 million, to annual revenues.

Since Aug. 1, 2006, Wolseley has made 33 acquisitions in Europe and North America totaling 342 million pounds, or $458 million.

More Breaking ...

Watsco, Inc., distributor of air conditioning and heating products, reported sales of $1.8 billion in 2006, a 7% increase from 2005. Profit was $82.4 million.

Fourth-quarter sales were $388 million.

&nbsp ; “2006 was one of enormous change as virtually half the products we sell were transitioned to new families of higher-efficiency products. We expect these new products to provide a unique and sustainable sales opportunity for us given consumers' high degree of sensitivity and focus on energy costs, President and CEO Albert H. Nahmad said.

The Watsco network expanded by 28 locations in 2006, including locations opened to enhance local service and locations acquired adding new customers, products and market share. Revenues contributed by new ...

The Home Depot, Atlanta, GA, has announced it will evaluate strategic alternatives" for its HD Supply business, including a possible sale, spin or initial public offering of the business.

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In a release, the company said a transaction is not definite. HD has retained Lehman Brothers as its financial advisor. HD said it would not disclose further developments with respect to HD Supply unless the board of directors has approved a definite transaction.

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"Today's announcement is a continuation of the strategic review we did in November," said CEO Frank Blake. "We are undertaking this action today because of our desire to increase our ...

Building Materials Holding Corporation, San Francisco, CA, provider of construction services and products to the homebuilding industry, announced that its wholly owned subsidiary, SelectBuild Construction, has terminated its letter of intent to acquire Willis Roof Consulting Inc.&nbsp ;

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In October of 2006, BMHC announced SelectBuild's intention to acquire 100% of the assets and operations of Willis Roof Consulting, subject to completion of due diligence activities.

Related Links:

Building Materials Holding Corp.&nbsp ; to Acquire&nbsp ; Las Vegas Roofing Specialist

More Breaking ...

The bidding war between The Carlyle Group and Building Materials Corporation of America for ElkCorp has ended, with The Carlyle Group dropping its offer for the roofing and building products manufacturer.

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An affiliate of Building Materials Corporation of America (BMCA), a roofing manufacturer in North America, has agreed to buy ElkCorp for $43.50 a share in cash, or about $1.12 billion, including the assumption of about $173 million in debt.

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The offer represents a 73% premium over ElkCorp's closing share price on Nov. 3, 2006, the last trading day before ElkCorp announced it was considering strategic alternatives.

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ElkCorp terminated its previous merger agreement with Carlyle.

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BMCA, ...

< Emerson, St. Louis, MO, sales for the first quarter ended Dec. 31, 2006,&nbsp ; were $5.1 billion, an increase of 11% over the $4.5 billion reported in the same period last year. Profit for the first &nbsp ; quarter increased 12% to $445 million.

Underlying international sales increased 11%, including strong growth in Europe, Asia and Latin America. This quarter marked the first time that international sales were over 50% of total&nbsp ; sales.&nbsp ; As expected, underlying growth in the U.S. was down 2% driven primarily by weakness in the&nbsp ; residential air-conditioning markets for the Climate Technologies segment, which experienced exceptionally strong growth last&nbsp ; year as the industry converted to 13-SEER ...

Adam Fein, president of Pembroke Consulting, identifies four key trends in Facing the Forces of Change: Lead the Way in the Supply Chain, put together every three years by the National Association of Wholesaler-Distributors. He described these trends in a presentation at the NAW annual meeting in Washington, D.C., last month.

No. 1: Private Label
Adam Fein, author of Facing the Forces of Change: Lead the Way in the Supply Chain, says the use of private-label products will expand substantially over the next few years.

Benefits of a private-label strategy include capturing the manufacturer's margin, and the ability to control profit from the top to the bottom of the supply chain. Customer relationships often improve thanks to lower ...

W.W. Grainger, Chicago, IL, has released its updated 2007 catalog with more than 138,000 MRO products, an increase of 23,000 over last year.

Last year, the distributor increased its catalog by 40 percent, adding 39,000 new products.

This year Grainger has added more than 7,000 plumbing products, including high-grade pipes, valves and fittings; 4,000 material handling supplies such as conveyors, hoists and casters; 5,000 fasteners including nuts, bolts and screws; as well as 1,600 security products including locks and hinges.

The company expects incremental sales from its ongoing product expansion to account for 1 to 2 percentage points of its growth in 2007. The new catalog has more than 3,000 pages.

In addition, online Grainger has added new search and ...

Strategic Distribution will soon shed the costs of public ownership when it sells to Platinum Equity. The two-year decision-making process was explained for shareholders in an SEC filing last month. MDM distills the details in this article.

Competitive pressures, a history of operating losses, limited stock liquidity and trading volume, and the cost of complying with Sarbanes-Oxley all played a part in leading Strategic Distribution to give up the public life and agree to sell to Platinum Equity for $10 a share, or $30 million, last month.

An SEC filing in late January details Strategic's decision to go private. In addition to selling the company, management also considered a liquidation of Strategic's assets.

Several suitors took up ...

Hardware and renovation products distributor and retailer RONA, Boucherville, Quebec, has acquired Noble Trade Inc., a plumbing and heating supply wholesaler in Ontario with annual sales of about C$150 million. The purchase price was close to 7X EBITDA, RONA executives said in a conference call.

Noble Trade was created in 1998 with the merger of Trade Plumbing Supplies and Noble Plumbing Supplies. The company has posted average annual sales increases of 27 percent since 1998. Most of that growth was organic, with either new stores or sales growth at existing stores, said Noble President Michael Storfer.

Storfer said Noble sold to RONA because it had resources it needed to grow the business. We thought they were the most entrepreneurial, and would allow us to continue to ...

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