Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Airgas board rejects Air Products offer

Board pegs the value of Airgas at a price of at least $78 per share

The Board of Directors of Airgas said today it has unanimously rejected the revised unsolicited tender offer from Air Products & Chemicals, Inc. to acquire all outstanding common shares of Airgas at a price of $70.00 per share in cash. The Board unanimously recommends that Airgas stockholders to not tender their shares into Air Products' revised offer.

The board said that the $70 per share offer is "clearly inadequate" and that the value of Airgas is at least $78.00 per share.

Grainger sells Highsmith brand

Broad-line distributor is also considering the sale of four other units under its Specialty Brands division

W.W. Grainger announced the sale of one of its specialty brands earlier this week. The broad-line distributor sold Highsmith, which provides products and solutions to libraries and schools, to DEMCO, Inc., a leading provider of supplies, equipment, furniture and technology for libraries and schools nationwide. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Grainger's Specialty Brands serve targeted customer segments with products and services specific to their industries.

The distributor also said it is considering the sale of four other specialty brands:
  • Professional Equipment (serving inspection and construction-related trade professionals)

  • Construction Book Express (serving general contractors, electricians, HVAC professionals, engineers and architects)

  • McFeely's (serving professional woodworkers)

  • Rand (serving material handling needs)

These four brands represent roughly 1% of Grainger's revenue.

Grainger said it will continue to invest in its remaining specialty brands, including Lab Safety Supply, Imperial, Gempler's, Ben Meadows and AW Direct.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

ProBuild to close 20 facilities

The construction supply company currently has 470 locations nationwide

ProBuild, one of America's biggest pro-oriented construction supply companies, announced today it is closing 20 of its roughly 470 locations nationwide "in an effort to align our business with current market needs," according to ProBuild reported sales of $3.2 billion in sales last year, down 27% from 2008.

For the complete story click on to

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Arnott selected new PTDA executive vice president

Arnott will succeed longtime executive Mary Sue Lyon

The Power Transmission Distributors Association (PTDA) Board of Directors unanimously selected Ann Arnott, currently PTDA’s vice president of programs and services, to succeed Mary Sue Lyon as the next executive vice president of PTDA, effective January 1, 2011.

The selection of Arnott is a result of asearch which began in March 2009, after the Board of Directors received notification of Lyon’s intent to retire at the end of 2010.

After concluding the search process, PTDA’s leadership affirmed their support of Arnott. Keith Nowak, president of the PTDA Board of Directors in 2010 and president of MPT Drives, Inc. shared the following sentiment. “Even though Ann was a qualified candidate, the Board elected to do a full-blown executive search. We wanted to be sure to get the best possible person to lead PTDA going forward. We are now more confident than ever that we have the right person for the job. Ann’s background in finance and experience as well as knowledge of PTDA and its members helped her to excel above the other candidates.”

John Masek, vice president of Bearing Service Inc., chaired the executive search committee. According to Masek, “Ann handled her position as an internal candidate with grace, strength and a positive demeanor at all times. At the end of the process, she clearly was affirmed as the best individual to lead our association forward into the next decade. Her poise, enthusiasm, creativity and leadership qualities stood out and will serve her well as she expands her service to the membership of PTDA.”

Arnott joined PTDA in 2006 as director of programs and services and was promoted to her current role in 2008. Arnott is integral in managing the development and execution of PTDA’s strategic plan through the association’s volunteer committees, task forces and work groups. Additionally, she provides oversight for the association’s events, including the Industry Summit, Canadian Conference and Leadership Development Conference. Arnott also oversees the association’s marketing plan.

Prior to working with the association, Arnott spent 16 years with the Institute of Real Estate Management, where she developed a broad-based background in association management. Serving as financial editor, chapter relations manager, member and chapter services manager and finance manager, Arnott rose to the position of director of marketing and sales, where she crafted and implemented a long-term strategic marketing plan.

PTDA also benefits from Arnott’s financial background. Before beginning her career in association management, Arnott completed her MBA in Finance and worked at the investment counseling firm Scudder, Stevens and Clark.

Mary Sue Lyon has also reached an agreement with PTDA to remain as a consultant to the association for the first quarter of 2011. Lyon and Arnott have already initiated the transition of EVP responsibilities to ensure continuity and an orderly transition.

Actuant buys Mastervolt for $150 million

Mastervolt is a designer, developer nd supplier of power electronics

Actuant Corporation has agreed to purchase Mastervolt, a Netherlands, Amsterdam- based designer, developer and global supplier of innovative, branded power electronics. The purchase is subject to customary regulatory approvals and closing conditions, and is expected to close within 30 days. Total consideration for the transaction is approximately €115 million ($150 million) which will be funded from the company’s cash and revolving credit facility. Mastervolt generated approximately €85 million ($110 million) in revenue in the past 12 months.

Mastervolt’s products provide the technology associated with the efficient conversion, control, storage and conditioning of power and are utilized in various end markets including solar photovoltaic (PV), marine and specialty vehicles.
In the solar market, Mastervolt is focused primarily on high-quality and high-yield inverters for sub-segments of the on-grid market in Europe. Inverters serve as the critical link in a solar PV system, connecting the solar panels to the electric grid, efficiently converting direct current (DC) into alternating current (AC). In the marine and specialty vehicle markets, Mastervolt provides integrated power systems which include battery chargers, inverters, generator sets, batteries, switchboards and electrical propulsion. Mastervolt provides “green” solutions to the marine market with its hybrid and electric propulsion, lithium-ion batteries and digital switching technologies.

Actuant Corporation is a diversified industrial company with operations in more than 30 countries. The Actuant businesses sell products in a broad array of niche markets including branded hydraulic and electrical tools and supplies; specialized products and services for energy markets and highly engineered position and motion control systems. The company was founded in 1910 and is headquartered in Butler, Wis.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

ABB to acquire Baldor Electric

Baldor, a manufacturer of motors and power transmission products, is headquartered in Ft. Smith, Arkansas

ABB , a power and automation technology group, and Baldor Electric Company a North American provider of industrial motor and related products, have agreed that ABB will acquire Baldor in an all-cash transaction valued at approximately $4.2 billion, including $1.1 billion of net debt.

Under the terms of the definitive agreement, which has been unanimously approved by both companies’ Boards of Directors, ABB will commence a tender offer to purchase all of Baldor’s outstanding shares for $63.50 per share in cash. The transaction represents a 41 percent premium to Baldor’s closing stock price on Nov. 29, 2010. The Board of Directors of Baldor will recommend that Baldor shareholders tender their shares in the tender offer. The deal is expected to close in the first quarter of 2011.

The transaction closes a gap in ABB’s automation portfolio in North America by adding Baldor’s strong NEMA motors product line and positions the company as a market leader for industrial motors, including high-efficiency motors. Baldor also adds a growing and profitable mechanical power transmission business to ABB’s portfolio.

The transaction will substantially improve ABB’s access to the industrial customer base in North America, opening opportunities for ABB’s wider portfolio including energy efficient drives and complementary motors. This move comes at a time when regulatory changes in the US and other parts of the world will accelerate demand for energy efficient industrial motion products. The acquisition will strengthen ABB’s position as a leading supplier of industrial motion solutions, and will also enable ABB to tap the huge potential in North America for rail and wind investments, both of which are expected to grow rapidly in coming years.

“Baldor is a great company with an extremely strong brand in the world’s largest industrial market,” said Joe Hogan, ABB’s CEO. “Baldor’s product range and regional scope are highly complementary to ours and give both companies significant opportunities to deliver greater value to our customers.”

John McFarland, Chairman of the Board and CEO of Baldor, commented: “Our Board of Directors believes this transaction is in the best interest of our shareholders, our employees and our customers. It demonstrates the value our employees have created and the strength of our brand and products in the global motors industry. We are excited about the opportunity to join ABB’s worldwide family as we have always respected ABB. We are very pleased that ABB will locate its motor and generator business headquarters for North America in Fort Smith and we are confident that the combined global platform will be well positioned to capitalize on meaningful growth opportunities in the future.” John McFarland will stay with the combined business to support a successful integration.

“ABB is well known in the marketplace for premium, innovative and advanced products. We have respected them as both a market participant and a value-added supplier for many years,” said Ron Tucker, Baldor’s current President and COO, and CEO designate. Ron Tucker will run Baldor including the mechanical power transmission products business and ABB’s motor and generator business in North America after the transaction is completed.

Baldor is based in Fort Smith, Arkansas, and is a supplier in the large North American industrial motors industry. In addition, Baldor offers a broad range of mechanical power transmission products such as mounted bearings, enclosed gearing and couplings – used primarily in process industries – as well as drives and generators. The Baldor drives business will be combined with the larger ABB drives business to achieve even further penetration of this product line.

Baldor employs approximately 7,000 people and reported an operating profit of $184 million on revenue of $1.29 billion in first nine months of 2010. This represents an increase of 30% in operating profit and 11% in revenue over the comparable period in 2009.

The US market for high-efficiency motors is expected to grow 10 to15 percent in 2011on the back of new regulations, effective in December this year. Similar regulations in Canada, Mexico and in the European Union are expected in 2011.

“ABB and Baldor will be able to offer our North American and global customers an unparalleled range of high-efficiency industrial products and services to help them meet their new demands,” said Ulrich Spiesshofer, Executive Committee member responsible for ABB’s Discrete Automation and Motion division, into which Baldor’s business will be integrated alongside the existing Motors and Generators business. We expect to achieve over $200 million in annual synergies by 2015, consisting of more than $100 million annual cost synergies and at least the same global revenue synergies. We estimate two-thirds of these synergies will be realized by 2013. We intend to build on Baldor’s excellent North American position to sell energy efficient drives, larger motors and generators. Together, we will accelerate the expansion of Baldor’s mechanical power transmission product portfolio into the global process automation market using ABB’s strong channels in this sector.”

“We are deeply impressed by the skill and passion of the Baldor team and their excellent customer relationships,” Spiesshofer said. “The strength of Baldor’s people and executive team, which will continue under the new ownership, will play a key role in our mutual success.”

Under the terms of the merger agreement, the transaction is structured as a cash tender offer to be followed as soon as possible by a merger. The tender offer is expected to commence in December and is subject to customary terms and conditions, including the tender of at least two-thirds (2/3) of Baldor's shares on a fully diluted basis, and regulatory clearance.

ABB is a leader in power and automation technologies that enable utility and industry customers to improve their performance while lowering environmental impact. The ABB Group of companies operates in around 100 countries and employs about 117,000 people.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Durable goods orders dropped in October

Biggest monthly drop in nearly two years

Orders for U.S. durable, goods, products meant to last at least three years, unexpectedly dropped in October, according to the U.S. Commerce Department.

Demand for durable goods decreased 3.3 percent, the biggest drop since January 2009, after a revised 5 percent jump in September.

Meanwhile, jobless claims declined by 34,000 to 407,000 in the week ended Nov. 20, according to the Labor Department.

Monday, November 22, 2010

NABE expects moderate GDP growth in 2011

Labor market conditions to improve slightly

The National Assn. for Business Economics today forecast only a moderate increase in GDP growth in 2011. NABE’s outlook panel said it expects GDP to grow 2.6 percent, unchanged from its previous prediction made in October.

“NABE Outlook survey panelists made only modest revisions to their forecasts for the November report compared with their October projections for economic growth,” said NABE President Richard Wobbekind, associate dean of the Leeds School of Business at the University of Colorado. “Projections for real GDP growth remain sub-par through the first quarter of 2011, but accelerate gradually through the forecast period. For next year as a whole, GDP growth is expected to be moderate.

"Factors restraining growth going forward include ongoing balance-sheet restructuring by consumers and businesses, and a diminished contribution to GDP growth from inventory restocking and government stimulus. Confidence in the expansion’s durability is intact, but panelists remain concerned about high levels of federal debt, a continuing high level of unemployment, increased business regulation, and rising commodity prices.”

Here is a breakdown of what NABE expects:

The NABE Outlook panel made modest revisions to its economic growth predictions for 2010 and 2011. Real gross domestic product (GDP) is now expected to advance 2.7 percent (year-over-year) in 2010, a slight increase from the panel’s October prediction of 2.6 percent. Next year’s projected 2.6 percent GDP growth rate was unchanged from October’s prediction, and, as is typical in a recovery after a severe financial crisis, shows the lack of a more pronounced cyclical rebound. The projected growth rate for 2011 is slightly below the panel’s current estimate of the economy’s long-term growth trend of 2.7 percent. The survey respondents’ estimate of trend growth has declined by one-quarter-percentage point since 2007.

To a large extent, the latest NABE forecast reflects the view that the economy will struggle against financial headwinds. Forty percent of survey respondents—compared to 37 percent in October—characterize the expansion as “sub-par with severe wealth losses and onerous debt burdens inhibiting spending and lending.” In contrast, 28 percent of respondents feel that “the economy will overcome its headwinds, and behave more in line with a traditional business cycle expansion: real output will grow at a rate above potential, and households and businesses will boost discretionary spending.” The likelihood of either stagflation or the economy slipping back into recession is viewed as relatively low.

Consumer spending is expected to remain modest throughout the forecast horizon due to weak job gains, persistently high unemployment, and negligible growth in household net worth. This year’s holiday retail sales are still expected to be weak, rising only 2.5 percent from those of last year. Roughly half of the panelists expect the personal saving rate to fall over the forecast period, while the other half of the panel is divided as to whether it will rise further or stay at roughly the same rate.

Labor market conditions will improve slowly. Monthly payroll gains are forecast to average less than 150,000 until the latter half of 2011, at which time gains will improve at a range of roughly 150,000-170,000. Joblessness will remain high, with the unemployment rate persisting at over 9.5 percent or higher through the first quarter of 2011 before easing—but only slightly—to 9.2 percent by year-end 2011.

This will mark the weakest post-recession job recovery on record. Panelists estimate the current long-run or natural rate of unemployment at 5.8 percent, up by one-half-percentage point since 2007.

Grainger optimistic about Q4

Sales expected to grow 8 to 10 percent

Grainger, the large broad line supplier of maintenance, repair and operating products serving government, businesses and institutions, last week told financial analysts that it expects a solid sales increase for the fourth quarter.

For the 2010 fourth quarter, the company is forecasting sales to increase 8% to 10%, and expects earnings per share for the quarter to be between $1.49 and $1.69, excluding unusual items.

•For the full year 2010, the company expects sales to increase 14% to 15%, and has narrowed its earnings per share forecast to be between $6.50 and $6.70, excluding unusual items. In October, the company had forecasted 2010 full year EPS of $6.40 to $6.70 on 14% to 15% sales growth.

•For the full year 2011, the company is forecasting sales to increase 5% to 9%, and expects earnings per share to be between $7.15 and $7.90.
The company also reviewed its long term operating margin objectives. Grainger expects to expand its operating margin by approximately 50 basis points per year in the context of mid to high single digit organic sales growth. The company established a new long term objective of increasing its operating margin to a range of 14% to 16%, up from the previous objective of 11% to 13%.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Hose distributors seek to expand technical knowledge

Recent NAHAD “Road Show” provided networking, education opportunities on hose assembly fabrication

NAHAD-The Assn. for Hose & Accessories Distribution took its Hose Assembly Guidelines program on the road recently as part of an ongoing outreach program designed to spread the word about the importance of providing safe, reliable hose assemblies to customers in all lines of trade.

NAHAD’s Hose Assembly Guidelines are a set of comprehensive recommendations for hose assembly specification, design and fabrication; they are designed to maximize the life of a hose assembly and optimize hose assembly safety, quality and reliability. San Diego was the fourth in a series of “road shows” created to spread the word about the guidelines program. The meeting was held Sept. 29-30 at the San Diego Marriott Hotel & Marina.

The training and education aspects of the program attracted John Green, president of Green Rubber/Kennedy Ag of Salinas, Calif., a first-time attendee who said he was “curious to see what the program was all about.”

“Our biggest concern as a medium-sized company is training,” said Green, whose company specializes in selling hose and rubber products to California’s food industry. “[NAHAD] stresses the importance of having qualified people learning about and doing proper assembly of specialty hoses.

“We know the chemical compatibilities and proper couplings to install on the hoses and the working pressures and so on, but these are things you can take for granted that your people know. And the training out there is very limited. So this was a way for us to stay informed.”

The Hose Assembly Guidelines program includes a training and certification component, something Green said he is particularly interested in.

“Most people think a hose is a hose and they don’t take into consideration what goes through it and how much pressure is involved,” he added, pointing to the potential for injury and damage if a hose fails. “We all want more information and a better understanding of what our products are capable of doing and what they’re not capable of doing. You really have to be astute in taking the time to make sure you know what you’re talking about when you make recommendations to customers.”

Distributors who adhere to NAHAD’s Hose Assembly Guidelines agree to fabricate hose assemblies according to the association’s standards—for industrial, composite, hydraulic, corrugated metal and fluoropolymer hose, as well as ducting and custom-made hose—and also agree to train and test their employees on those standards. They can then become NAHAD Listed members, a marketing program that lets end users and others know that they adhere to the NAHAD guidelines.

Green says he plans to take part in the Guidelines program as a result of the meeting.

Mike Helfer, president of Specialty Hose Corp. in North Canton, Ohio, deemed the Road Show a success in large part because of first-time attendees like Green. Helfer is a NAHAD board member and also serves on the association’s standards committee.

“Although we do some [programming] geared toward the Guidelines at our annual convention, there are still many people who walk away from that meeting without a complete understanding of what [the Guidelines] are and how they can affect them and their business,” Helfer explained. “[The Road Shows provide] hands-on, live examples from people who are using the Guidelines on a daily basis, giving [newcomers] insight about what this program is that everyone is talking about and how they can use it at their company.”

Key topics at the San Diego Road Show included safety concerns, liability issues in cases of hose failure, and the importance of ongoing employee training, Helfer and Green said. Companies experienced in using the Guidelines—such as Helfer’s—shared their experiences as NAHAD Listed members, while newcomers asked questions and also shared their insights on key issues and trends shaping the industry.

Among the meeting’s key “take-aways” for Green was a simple piece of sales advice.

“We all have trained salesmen who go out and try to explain to the purchasing people or the engineering people or the safety people why they should spend a certain amount of money on a particular product,” Green said. “But in most cases, people are looking for price. At [the Road Show], one gentleman explained it this way: You find somebody who [cares]. And when you find that person, you explain that if you think this hose might be expensive, wait until you find out how expensive a lawsuit can be.”

For more information on NAHAD’s Hose Assembly Guidelines program, go to

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Purvis Industries acquires BMG

Purvis will also be opening a new MT. Pleasant, TX store

CAPCORP, a division of Purvis Industries of Dallas, TX, has acquired Belt Maintenance Group of Texas (BMG) from BMG of Tampa, FL. The acquisition consists of the Mt. Pleasant, TX, and San Antonio, TX, locations.

BMG sells conveyor belting sales and service solutions including field service and installation to the Texas, Louisiana, Arkansas, Oklahoma and surrounding areas

“We believe the culture of quality service and field work with an emphasis on maintaining a safe and professional presence on the job demonstrated by BMG Texas is a great fit with the CAPCORP organization and its philosophy” said Allan Ross, vice president of sales and operations at CAPCORP.

Purvis Industries will also be opening a new Mt Pleasant, TX store to be co-located in a new 15,000-square-foot facility to be occupied by BGM and CAPCORP.

Friday, November 12, 2010

PT/motion control sales rose in September

Sales of PT products are up 11.9 percent this year compared to 2009

Sales of power transmission/motion control (PT/MC) products by U.S. and Canadian manufacturers grew for the second consecutive month in September. U.S. sales were up 1.4 percent and Canadian manufacturers’ sales rose 10.4 percent according to September 2010 sales data released by the Power Transmission Distributors Association (PTDA) in its Market Outlook Report.

In the U.S., year-to-date sales are up 11.9 percent over the same period in 2009. In Canada, sales are 13.0 percent ahead of 2009.

Confidence in the market by U.S. manufacturers rose from 4.8 in August to 4.9 on a scale of 1 (very pessimistic) to 10 (outstanding). Canadian manufacturers’ confidence decreased slightly from 5.2 in August to 5.1.

The Market Outlook Report is published monthly by the Power Transmission Distributors Association. The full report includes U.S. and Canadian manufacturer data for sales and order trends for mounted bearings, unmounted bearings, standard industrial motors (U.S. only), variable speed drives, positioning systems/linear motion products, gear products, clutches and brakes, shaft couplings and mechanical drive systems and other PT products.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Grainger honors veterans through expanded scholarship program

Distributor’s Tools for Tomorrow program now includes 50 scholarships specifically for veterans of the armed forces

W.W. Grainger announced today the expansion of its Tools for Tomorrow scholarship program, which provides 75 community colleges nationwide with two, $2,000 scholarships for students enrolled in industrial trades programs.

Making the announcement on Veteran’s Day, Grainger said the program will now allocate one-third of the scholarships—50 altogether—to veterans in recognition of their service to the country. The scholarships go to students enrolled in industrial trades programs such as welding, plumbing, automotive and construction. In addition, scholarship recipients receive a Westward toolkit outfitted for their particular industrial trade skill upon graduation.

“Grainger appreciates the contributions veterans have made to our country and their potential for service in the workplace,” Jim Ryan, Grainger’s chairman, president and CEO said in a statement announcing the expanded program. “Industrial skilled trades are vital to keeping our infrastructure sound and our communities strong. The Grainger Tools for Tomorrow scholarship program empowers future tradespeople to complete their education and helps them start their careers.”

In 2009, there were 22 million veterans over the age of 18, with a significant number likely to enter occupations in installation, maintenance, repair, production and material-moving industries, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. What’s more, a report form the Georgetown University Center on Education and the Workforce recently pointed to a growing mismatch over the next 10 years between available skills and required skills in goods-producing industries such as manufacturing and construction. New jobs in those industries “will look nothing like the old ones and will require employees with postsecondary skills and preparation,” the report said.

Grainger launched its Tools for Tomorrow program in conjunction with the American Association of Community Colleges in 2006. Over the last four years, the distributor has awarded scholarships to more than 200 technical education students at 50 AACC community colleges across the country.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Lawson Products to sell Rutland Tool to MSC

Deal sharpens Lawson’s focus on its core MRO business, adds to MSC’s metalworking presence on the West Coast

Industrial distributor Lawson Products announced plans to sell its Rutland Tool & Supply Co. subsidiary to MSC Industrial Direct Co. for $11 million in cash. The transaction is expected to close in the fourth quarter.

Whittier, Calif.-based Rutland Tool is an industrial distributor of metalworking and maintenance solutions that generated $33.7 million in revenue in 2009. Lawson said the sale aligns with its strategy to focus on advancing the Lawson MRO business, the company’s most profitable and fastest-growing segment, Lawson said in a statement announcing the deal this week.

"The sale of Rutland will provide us with valuable resources to further invest in and grow our core MRO business," said Tom Neri, president and chief executive officer of Lawson Products. "Through this sale, as well as through the recent sale of Assembly Component Systems, Inc., we are successfully positioning Lawson for profitable growth and ensuring our strong competitive position for the future."

In September, Lawson sold its Assembly Component Systems business to Supply Technologies LLC, a subsidiary of Park-Ohio Holdings Corp., for $19 million.

MSC says the acquisition of Rutland will sharpen its focus on the West Coast metalworking market.

“Rutland is a well-regarded West Coast metalworking distributor that adds to our presence in the region,” said David Sandler, MSC’s president and CEO. “We expect that this acquisition will enhance our West Coast build-out strategy and provide the opportunity for accelerated market share gains and further growth in sales and profitability.”

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Distributors and manufacturers continue to post strong results

Helped by an improving industrial economy, some of the nation’s largest distributors and manufacturers posted double-digit third-quarter sales gains this week

Industrial distributors and manufacturers produced further evidence of an improving business climate this week, as third-quarter results from distributors such as Kaman Industrial Technologies and DXP Enterprises revealed double-digit sales gains.

Connecticut-based Kaman Industrial, which specializes in bearings, power transmission and motion control products, reported third-quarter sales of $223 million, a 37% increase over the same period last year. The results reflect growth from acquisitions as well as a healthier overall business environment, the distributor said in a statement announcing the results.

For the full year, Kaman Industrial said it expects sales to grow 10% to 13%, to between $810 and $830 million.

At DXP Enterprises, which specializes in pumping solutions and MRO supplies, sales rose 20% in the third quarter to $172 million; earnings rose 17% to more than $5 million, or 36 cents a share.

DXP’s sales for the first nine months of the year rose 9% to $487 million compared to the first nine months of 2009. Earnings for the first nine months of the year totaled nearly $14 million, or 93 cents a share, compared to just $8 million, or 57 cents a share, in the same period a year ago.

In addition to strong quarterly results, industrial distributor Fastenal reported solid monthly gains in October, as net sales increased 17% and daily sales increased 22% compared to October 2009. Fastenal also opened seven new stores during the month, bringing the company’s year-to-date new store openings to 97.

Manufacturers reported strong results this week as well, especially in the bearings/power transmission/motion control segment. Motion control manufacturers Regal Beloit and Allied Motion, as well as bearings makers RBC Bearings and NN Inc., all posted strong third-quarter results:

Regal Beloit
Third-quarter net sales roses 27% for the Wisconsin-based manufacturer, to $465 million, reflecting growth in nearly all of the company’s end markets, including strong demand for energy-efficient products (which accounted for 18% of sales).

Sales in the company’s electrical segment rose 25%, reflecting 5% growth in residential HVAC motors, 23% growth in commercial and industrial motor sales, and 34% growth in global generator sales.

Sales in the manufacturer’s mechanical segment grew by 46%, including $9.5 million of incremental sales from acquired businesses.

The company also grew its international business during the quarter, as sales to regions outside the United States represented 31% of total sales compared to 26% of sales in the same period a year ago.

Allied Motion
Third-quarter sales for Allied Motion rose 47% to $22 million, and the company posted a $1.1 million profit, its highest profit since restructuring in 2002. Third-quarter results include the June acquisition of Agile Systems Inc., which now operates as Allied Motion Canada.

For the first nine months of the year, Allied’s sales rose 35% to nearly $60 million. The company posted net income of more than $2 million, or 33 cents a share, compared to a net loss of $13 million, or $1.67 per share, in the same period last year.

RBC Bearings
Bearings-maker RBC Bearings reported $83 million in sales in its 2011 fiscal second quarter ended Oct. 2; that’s an increase of 31% over sales in the same period last year. Earnings rose 95% to nearly $9 million compared to just over $4 million in the same period a year ago.

RBC credited the strength of various industrial segments, including OEM and distribution markets, for the strong results.

NN Inc.
Bearings maker NN Inc. posted a 38% sales increase for its third quarter, to $91 million, citing improved demand for its products in industrial and automotive end markets.

However, the company reported a net loss of $1 million, or 6 cents a share, during the quarter, which included nearly $5 million in non-operating costs, including close to $4 million for plant closings and restructuring; more than $1 million in foreign currency exchange losses on intercompany loans, and $1 million in start-up costs associated with new products in its Precision Metal Components segment.

NN’s sales for the first nine months of the year totaled $269 million, a 49% increase compared with the first nine months of 2010.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Interline’s sales drop 0.4% in Q3 but earnings rise

Interline also buys CleanSource, a janitorial supplies distributor

Interline Brands, Inc. a distributor of maintenance, repair and operations products yesterday reported sales and earnings for the fiscal 3rd quarter ended September 24, 2010.

Sales for the quarter decreased 0.4% compared to the third quarter of 2009. Earnings per diluted share were $0.34 for the third quarter of 2010, an increase of 6% compared to earnings per diluted share of $0.32 for the same period last year. Earnings per diluted share for the third quarter of 2010 included a $0.02 per diluted share charge associated with ongoing improvements to our distribution network.

Michael J. Grebe, Interline's Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, commented, "We've made meaningful progress over the past year toward improving our operating model, which has resulted in better value and service to our customers, and improved margins at all levels of the business. Although we generated only modest growth in certain areas of our business during the third quarter, we have achieved significant productivity gains as evidenced by our 10.3% EBITDA margin. These productivity gains have been driven, in part, by our sales professionals who are focused on building high-quality relationships with targeted customers. This has taken considerable effort over the past few quarters, but we are now better positioned for it. With our end markets continuing to stabilize, we expect to accelerate proven targeted investments to drive growth. We have successfully done this in the past and are confident these investments will yield strong results given the improvements in our operating model."

Sales for the quarter were $276.8 million, a 0.4% decrease compared to sales of $277.9 million in the comparable 2009 period. Interline's facilities maintenance end-market, which comprised 74% of sales, declined 1.5% during the third quarter. The professional contractor end-market, which comprised 15% of sales, increased 0.1% for the quarter. The specialty distributor end-market, which comprised 11% of sales, increased 4.1% for the quarter.

Gross profit increased $2.6 million, or 2.6%, to $104.8 million for the third quarter of 2010, compared to $102.2 million for the third quarter of 2009. As a percentage of net sales, gross profit increased 110 basis points to 37.9% compared to 36.8% for the third quarter of 2009.

"Our supply chain efforts remain highly focused on reducing our fixed cost structure, driving operating efficiencies, and improving our customer experience through enhanced technology and inventory management. We accomplish this with larger, more sophisticated distribution centers, such as our newest facility in Jacksonville, Florida, which became fully operational during the third quarter. As initial evidence of the success of these types of facilities, in Jacksonville we are now delivering some of the best fill-rates to our customers in the history of our company," commented Kenneth D. Sweder, Interline's Chief Operating Officer.

Sales for the nine months ended September 24, 2010 were $792.2 million, a 1.5% decrease over sales of $804.7 million in the comparable 2009 period.

Gross profit increased $4.4 million, or 1.5%, to $301.5 million for the nine months ended September 24, 2010, compared to $297.1 million in the prior year period.

Interline Brands also announced that it has acquired substantially all of the assets of CleanSource, In., a distributor of janitorial and sanitation ("JanSan") supplies, for $60.1 million, comprised of $54.6 million in cash plus an earn-out of up to $5.5 million in cash over the next two years, subject to working capital and other closing adjustments. The transaction is expected to be neutral to Interline's fiscal 2010 results after acquisition-related expenses, but accretive to future earnings periods.

CleanSource, a regional JanSan distributor headquartered in San Jose, California, primarily serves institutional facilities in the healthcare and education markets, as well as building services contractors. For the twelve-month period ended September 30, 2010, CleanSource generated approximately $115 million of sales.

"The acquisition of CleanSource fits well with our strategy of acquiring well-run businesses with leadership positions in attractive facilities maintenance markets," said Greber. "In addition to being accretive, we believe the acquisition offers numerous opportunities to grow sales and improve profitability.

"In particular, the acquisition enhances our position in the strategically important JanSan market as well as provides us with an opportunity to expand our national account capability to the West Coast. In addition, the transaction provides the potential for meaningful operating and sales benefits as we leverage our platform to generate cost synergies and sourcing benefits, as well as cross-sell more products to deliver a better value proposition to our customers. We have a very high regard for CleanSource's employees, their culture, and their valued relationships with customers and suppliers. They have a strong service-oriented approach, which is an excellent fit with Interline's culture."

Interline Brands, Inc. is headquartered in Jacksonville, Florida. Interline provides maintenance, repair and operations products to a diversified customer base made up of facilities maintenance professionals, professional contractors, and specialty distributors primarily throughout North America, Central America and the Caribbean.

CleanSource is a regional distributor of JanSan products in California. CleanSource provides product solutions and value-added services, including over 4,000 SKUs, to help businesses prosper while maintaining safe, healthy environments for their customers and employees. CleanSource was founded in 1956.

Emerson’s sales increased 5% in fiscal 2010

Fourth quarter sales rose 14% from prior year quarter

Diversified manufacturer Emerson Corp. today reported that net sales for fiscal 2010 increased 5 percent to $21.0 billion. Underlying sales declined 1 percent, currency translation added 2 percent and acquisitions added 4 percent. Emerging market sales hit record levels of 34 percent of sales and international sales were 57 percent of total sales. Gross profit margin expanded 2.0 points to a record 39.6 percent for the year and operating profit margin reached 16.7 percent.

Earnings per share from continuing operations grew 15 percent to $2.60, which includes a negative $0.04 impact from the Chloride Group PLC acquisition and a negative $0.05 impact from the reclassification of the appliance motors and U.S. commercial and industrial motors businesses to discontinued operations. Net earnings per share increased 25 percent to $2.84, and includes a $0.20 gain from the sale of Motors and a positive $0.04 impact from the results of divested businesses.

“Because of the work accomplished during the downturn, we had a strong finish to the year. Our September order trends accelerated to 18 percent and reveal tremendous momentum heading into fiscal 2011,” said Chairman and CEO David N. Farr. “We are proud of our employees’ accomplishments and the results we delivered. Looking ahead, 2011 should be an even stronger year.”

Net sales for the fourth quarter ended September 30, 2010, were $5.8 billion, an increase of 14 percent from the prior year quarter. Underlying sales in the quarter increased 12 percent, which excludes a 3 percent impact from acquisitions and a 1 percent unfavorable impact from currency exchange rates. Growth was solid across all global markets. Underlying sales in the quarter grew 9 percent in the U.S., 14 percent in Asia, 15 percent in Europe and 11 percent in Latin America.

“Our fourth quarter results reflect continued strengthening in the global economy and improved demand for Emerson’s products,” Farr said. “Businesses are spending again. That’s good for Emerson. In the midst of the harsh economic downturn of the past couple of years, we did what we’ve done before. We repositioned the company to be stronger than ever before.

Emerson’s Industrial Automation group had strong performance in the quarter, with sales increasing 23 percent including an underlying sales increase of 26 percent, a 4 percent unfavorable impact from currency and a 1 percent favorable impact from acquisitions. Recently, Emerson won a major contract to provide power inverters and plant-wide controls for what will be California’s largest photovoltaic facility.

Its Tools and Storage sales were up 2 percent in the quarter, reflecting flat underlying sales and a 2 percent favorable impact from acquisitions. Strength in the tools and disposer businesses was offset by residential storage weakness

Monday, November 1, 2010

Manufacturing surged in October

PMI rises 2.5 points; manufacturing sector grows for 15th consecutive month

The Institute for Supply Management’s factory index increased to 56.9 last month, the highest since May, from 54.4, the Tempe, Arizona-based group said today. Readings greater than 50 signal the sector is expanding.

Norbert J. Ore, CPSM, C.P.M., chair of ISM's Manufacturing's Business Survey Committee said the report increases expectations for the quarter.

“The manufacturing sector grew during October, with both new orders and production making significant gains," said Ore. "Since hitting a peak in April, the trend for manufacturing has been toward slower growth. However, this month's report signals a continuation of the recovery that began 15 months ago, and its strength raises expectations for growth in the balance of the quarter. Survey respondents note the recovery in autos, computers and exports as key drivers of this growth. Concerns about inventory growth are lessened by the improvement in new orders during October. With 14 of 18 industries reporting growth in October, manufacturing continues to outperform the other sectors of the economy."

Meanwhile, other reports showed that manufacturing in China expanded in October at the fastest pace in six months, while U.K. factory growth unexpectedly accelerated as hiring and export orders improved.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Distributors post strong sales and earnings growth

Reflecting improved conditions in the industrial sector, Barnes Group, Lawson Products, United Stationers and Avent post strong quarterly results

Several distributors posted strong sales and earnings this week, as the industrial economy continues its climb out of the recession.

Barnes Group
Connecticut-based manufacturer and distributor Barnes Group Inc. posted a 39% earnings gain on top of an 11% sales increase, driven by growth in its North American distribution businesses. Barnes Group’s third-quarter sales hit $290 million, while net income grew nearly 40% to $15 million and earnings per share grew 35% to 27 cents a share.

Barnes’ Logistics and Manufacturing Group, which includes its distribution business, saw a 6% quarterly sales increase, to $139 million. The group’s operating profit fell slightly to $11 million during the quarter.

Lawson Products
MRO and OEM products distributor Lawson Products reported third-quarter sales of $89 million, a 6% increase over the same period a year ago. Adjusted operating income (excluding severance and a favorable legal settlement) rose nearly 60% to $6.5 million.

During the third quarter, Lawson finalized a pending legal claim against a competitor in which Lawson was awarded $4.1 million, of which $3.5 million was realized in the quarter.

Lawson said it continued to make progress on key goals during the quarter, including completing the blueprint phase of its new enterprise resource planning (ERP) system, which it expects to roll out in the second quarter of 2011. The distributor also said it improved sales productivity by transitioning its independent agent district managers to employee district sales managers and by selling Assembly Component Systems, its supply chain management solutions business, which resulted in a $19 million selling price the company will invest in its MRO business.

United Stationers
Business products distributor United Stationers posted a 2% sales gain to $1.3 billion in the third quarter, reflecting strong performance in its industrial supplies category, where sales rose nearly 30%. United Stationers sells office products, industrial supplies, technology products and janitorial/breakroom supplies.

United Stationers’ sales for the first nine months of the year rose 3.4% to $3.65 billion, led by a double-digit increase in industrial supplies and growth in technology and office products. Those increases were partially offset by lower furniture sales and a slight decrease in janitorial/breakroom category sales, the company said.

Avnet Inc.
Electronics distributor Avnet, Inc. posted a record $6.2 billion in sales for its fiscal 2011, ended Oct. 2, 2010. That marks a 42% increase over the previous year. The distributor’s adjusted income rose 108% to $222.5 million while adjusted earnings per share rose 111% over the prior year to 93 cents a share.

Avnet’s chairman and CEO Roy Vallee said the company jump-started its new fiscal year with three acquisitions that will add roughly $4 billion to the distributor’s revenue stream. Avnet completed its acquisition of Bell Micro, Tallard Technologies, and Unidux in July.

“In addition to the financial benefits, the integration of Bell Micro, Tallard Technologies and Unidux are enhancing our competitive position in key technologies, expanding our presence in higher growth geographies and increasing our global scale and scope advantages,” Vallee said in a statement announcing the results.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Airgas sales increase 10 percent in Q2

Reiterates Air Products’ offer to buy Airgas is “grossly inadequate”

Airgas, Inc. (NYSE: ARG), the largest U.S. distributor of industrial, medical, and specialty gases and related MRO supplies yesterday reported second quarter sales of $1.06 billion, a nearly 10 percent increase over the same period a year ago. The company reported a sequential increase of 1% compared to the first quarter. Acquisitions contributed 1% sales growth over the prior year. Profit increased 22 percent.

Based on the strong earnings report, Airgas again reiterated its contention that the offer from Air Products and Chemicals to buy Airgas was “grossly inadequate.”
In a letter to Air Products after the earnings report, Airgas wrote: “Each of our ten directors is of the view that the current Air Products offer of $65.50 per share is grossly inadequate. In light of Airgas’ strong performance, outstanding prospects, and unique industry position, as well as the enormous financial benefits to Air Products of an acquisition of Airgas, the current offer price is not close to the right price for the sale of the Company.

“Our Board is also unanimous in its views regarding negotiations between Air Products and Airgas. To that end, we read with great interest your and your chief financial officer’s trial testimony, including the testimony that Air Products is attempting to acquire Airgas for the lowest possible price. In contrast, our obligation is to seek the greatest possible price in the event of a sale of the Company. Each member of our Board believes that the value of Airgas in any sale is meaningfully in excess of $70 per share. We are writing to let you know that our Board is unanimous in its willingness to authorize negotiations with Air Products if Air Products provides us with sufficient reason to believe that those negotiations will lead to a transaction at a price that is consistent with that valuation.”

In releasing the numbers for the quarter, Airgas offered an upbeat tone. “Our business continued to strengthen in our second quarter, reflecting broad-based improvement in most of our geographies and customer segments, and with the greatest strength in manufacturing,” said Airgas Chief Executive Officer Peter McCausland.

“Hardgoods same-store sales accelerated noticeably this quarter as compared to gas and rent same-store sales, which is a trend consistent with an economic recovery. While revenues have not yet recovered to pre-recession levels, we are experiencing favorable leverage on sales growth and are achieving near record results for earnings and margins.”

AIT sales rose 21% in Q1

Applied also raises its guidance for remainder of fiscal 2011

Applied Industrial Technologies has reported an increase in net sales of 20.5 percent in the first quarter of fiscal 2011 that ended Sept. 30. It reported sales of $527,501,000 from $437,743,000 in the comparable period a year ago. Net income for the quarter increased 85.5% to $20,755,000 or $0.48 per share compared to $11,187,000 or $0.26 per share last year.

“We are pleased with the strength shown by our first quarter sales and operating results,”said David L. Pugh, Applied’s Chairman & Chief Executive Officer. “Our sales showed steady growth over prior year comparables throughout the quarter on the basis of increased demand from the majority of our industrial segments. We see this level of demand continuing for the foreseeable future.

“Our attention to detail in the areas of cost control and asset management allowed us toleverage this sales growth into strong operating income and cash flow. Inventories expanded about $10 million net of acquisitions and price increases, as we increased our stock to safeguard against increased lead times in our supply chain.

“We believe that we will continue to see moderate growth in our daily sales run rates
from the current levels throughout the remaining three quarters of our fiscal year. Based on the strength of our first quarter performance, we are raising our earnings guidance for the full fiscal year 2011 and now expect to achieve earnings of $1.80 to $2.05 per share compared to our previous forecast of $1.70 to $1.95. We are maintaining our full-year sales guidance of $2.05 to $2.25 billion.”

Durable goods orders increased 3.3% in September

Inventories rose for the ninth month in a row

Durable-goods orders increased by 3.3% to a seasonally adjusted $199.16 billion, the Commerce Department said today. This as the biggest rise since January and was primarily due to an increase in aircraft and aircraft parts.

New orders for aircraft and parts doubled to $12.85 billion in September.

Overall transportation equipment orders rose 15.7% to $54.77 billion in September.

Shipments of manufactured durable goods fell 0.4%. And inventories rose for the ninth month in a row, gaining 0.5%.

Durable goods orders are products such as appliances that are designed to last more than three years.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Builders FirstSource posts $20.5 million loss

Sales slip 4.5% for Dallas-based building materials supplier

Sales for Dallas-based Builders FirstSource slipped 4.5% to $180.4 million in the third quarter, the company reported today. Builders FirstSource also reported a net loss of $20.5 million, or 22 cents per share.

Builders FirstSource is a supplier and manufacturer of building materials for the residential construction market, which continues to experience difficult conditions nationwide. U.S. housing starts fell 14% in the third quarter compared to the third quarter of 2009, and were down by the same amount in the South region, which encompasses Builders FirstSource’s entire geographic footprint.

"Despite the decline in building activity, our sales of $180.4 million were down just 4.5 percent from sales of $188.9 million in the third quarter of 2009,” Builders FirstSource CEO Floyd Sherman said in a statement announcing the results.

Sherman also noted that while pricing in commodity markets has stabilized, Builders FirstSource continues to experience the same competitive pricing pressures that have existed for the last few years. He said current-quarter gross margins declined 1.2 percentage points compared to the third quarter of 2009, although margins improved 1.4 percentage points compared to the second quarter of 2010. He said the company remains focused on cost-containment initiatives, pointing to the temporary idling of four manufacturing facilities in the third quarter—two in Maryland and two in Florida—and two distribution centers—both in South Carolina—in order to reduce operating expenses and excess capacity.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

MSC’s fourth-quarter sales rise 30%

Distributor credits solid results to market share gains as a result of ongoing business investment during the downturn

MSC Industrial Direct today reported sales and earnings for its fiscal fourth quarter and full year ended August 28, 2010.

Fourth-quarter sales rose 30% for the New York-based distributor of metalworking and MRO supplies, reaching $461 million compared to $354 million in the prior-year period. Net income for the quarter was $44 million, up 70% compared to the fourth quarter of 2009. The company’s quarterly earnings rose 70% to 70 cents a share, compared with 41 cents a share in the same period a year ago. MSC noted that the 2010 fourth quarter had one less sales day than the prior-year period.

For the full year, sales rose to $1.69 billion compared to $1.49 billion in 2009, while net income rose to $150 million compared to $125 million last year, and earnings per share were $2.37 compared with $1.99 in 2009.

MSC executives cited ongoing investments in the company throughout the economic downturn as a key to the strong quarterly and full-year results.

“Throughout this period of economic uncertainty, MSC’s strategy has been to invest in the business to capitalize on the opportunities in the marketplace to gain share and grow profitably. I am pleased to say that our results reflect the benefits of these efforts,” president and CEO David Sandler said in a statement announcing the results. “While our recent performance is encouraging, we believe it is only the beginning of a long-term growth story. Looking ahead, we expect to leverage our advantages in the marketplace to continue to generate strong results for all of our stakeholders.”

MSC also announced a new management succession plan. Sandler will continue to serve as president and CEO for the next two to three years before transitioning to vice chairman of MSC’s board of directors, where he will serve until at least 2016.

Erik Gershwind, MSC’s executive vice president and chief operating officer, will succeed succeed Sandler as CEO.

MSC said there are no changes to management roles or responsibilities and no other executive leadership changes at this time.

Eaton’s sales rise 18% in Q3

Company raises guidance for year

Diversified industrial manufacturer Eaton Corporation (NYSE:ETN) yesterday announced net income per share of $1.57 for the third quarter of 2010, an increase of 38 percent from net income per share of $1.14 in the third quarter of 2009. Sales in the quarter were $3.6 billion, 18 percent above the same period in 2009. Net income was $268 million compared to $193 million in 2009, an increase of 39 percent.

In a press release, Alexander M. Cutler, Eaton chairman and chief executive officer, said, “Our third quarter results significantly exceeded our guidance. The results reflect the outstanding achievements of our employees around the world, who have capitalized on the continued rebound in our end markets while realizing the benefits of the substantial changes in our cost structure implemented over the past two years.

“Our 18 percent sales increase in the quarter was due entirely to an increase in core sales, with a 1 percent increase from acquisitions offset by a 1 percent decline from exchange rates,” said Cutler. “Our end markets increased 14 percent in the quarter.

Accordingly, for the full year, we are raising our earnings guidance by 10 percent. We now anticipate that net income per share will be between $5.30 and $5.40, and operating earnings per share will be between $5.45 and $5.55.”

Third quarter sales for the Electrical Americas segment were $967 million, up 15 percent compared to 2009. Operating profits in the third quarter were $141 million, down 1 percent from results in 2009.

“End markets for our Electrical Americas segment grew 3 percent during the third quarter,” said Cutler. “We saw good growth during the quarter in our early- and mid-cycle markets, particularly in power quality and industrial markets. That growth was largely offset by the weakness in our non-residential markets.

Sales for the Electrical Rest of World segment were $707 million, an increase of 9 percent compared to the third quarter of 2009. The sales increase was comprised of a 12 percent increase in core sales and a 1 percent increase from acquisitions offset by a 4 percent decline due to foreign currency.

In the Hydraulics segment, third quarter sales were $583 million, up 40 percent from the third quarter of 2009. Hydraulics markets in the third quarter grew 44 percent compared to the same period in 2009, with U.S. markets up 58 percent and non-U.S. markets up 34 percent. Operating profits in the third quarter were $76 million. In the third quarter of 2009, operating profits were $20 million, excluding acquisition integration charges of $2 million.

“Global hydraulics markets continued their sharp rebound during the third quarter,” said Cutler. “Our bookings, adjusted for foreign exchange, increased 43 percent in the third quarter. We expect hydraulics markets will show further growth in the fourth quarter, although the rate of growth is likely to be somewhat lower than in the third quarter. For all of 2010, we now expect our markets to grow 31 percent versus our expectation at the end of the second quarter of 26 percent.”

Eaton Corporation is a diversified power management company with 2009 sales of $11.9 billion. Eaton is a global provider of electrical components and systems for power quality, distribution and control; hydraulics components, systems and services for industrial and mobile equipment; aerospace fuel, hydraulics and pneumatic systems for commercial and military use; and truck and automotive drivetrain and powertrain systems for performance, fuel economy and safety.

Eaton has approximately 70,000 employees and sells products to customers in more than 150 countries.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

ITW sales rise 12.2% in 3Q

Organic revenues and operating margins higher than expected

Illinois Tool Works Inc. (NYSE: ITW)) yesterday reported 2010 third quarter diluted income per share from continuing operations of $0.83, a 38 percent increase versus the year-ago period. The growth in earnings was largely driven by strong organic revenue performance and ongoing contributions from restructuring activities.

The Company’s third quarter revenues of $4.018 billion were 12.2 percent higher than the year-earlier period. Organic or base revenues grew 11.2 percent in the quarter, with North American base revenues increasing 11.5 percent and international base revenues growing 10.8 percent. While all of the reporting segments produced positive organic revenue growth in the third quarter, the strongest organic revenue increases were produced by the Power Systems and Electronics, Industrial Packaging and Transportation segments. Acquisitions added 3.6 percent to third quarter revenues. Currency translation negatively impacted revenues by 2.4 percent.

“ITW’s third quarter financial results represented strong operating performance amid end markets that largely performed to our expectations,” said David B. Speer, chairman and chief executive officer. “We were pleased, however, that both our organic revenues and operating margins came in at higher than expected levels. While acquired revenues in the third quarter were relatively modest, we remain optimistic that acquisition activity will continue to improve as the year progresses and we move into 2011. Given our existing cash position, we repurchased 8.1 million shares for $350 million in the quarter. We consider our share repurchase program an ongoing part of our capital allocation process and we remain committed to being opportunistic as to its use.'

Total worldwide revenues for the Power Systems and Electronics segment increased 23.7percent in the third quarter versus the year-ago period.

Organic revenues grew 23.8 percent in the quarter due to strong end market demand associated with the welding and electronics businesses. Worldwide welding organic revenues increased 14.8 percent in the third quarter, with North American welding organic revenues growing 19.4 percent. The North American businesses continued to be helped by strong demand for welding products from heavy equipment OEM’s as well as other manufacturing customers. International welding organic revenues increased 5.3 percent in the quarter.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Graybar named to InformationWeek 500

Electrical distributor makes listed of top technology innovators for eighth straight year

St. Louis-based electrical distributor Graybar was named to this year’s InformationWeek 500, a list of some of the country’s most innovative users of business technology. This marks the eighth consecutive year Graybar has appeared on the list.

In its annual listing, InformationWeek recognizes innovative users of information technology and also tracks the technology, strategies, investments and administrative practices of America’s best-known companies. Graybar was honored for its use of collaboration tools as well as its implementation of software-as-a-service (a technology model in which software is hosted by a provider in a central and remote location and made available to users via the Internet or an Intranet.)

“The InformationWeek listing spotlights companies that develop and execute IT plans that are both innovative and well-rounded," Graybar’s vice president and CIO Scott Clifford said in a statement announcing the award. "Being named to the list for the eighth consecutive time shows Graybar’s continued commitment to technology innovation."

Parker Hannifin sales soar nearly 27 percent

Company also raises its outlook for year

Diversified industrial manufacturer Parker Hannifin Corp reported today that its net income tripled in the first quarter and it also achieved record profit margins. The Cleveland-based company also raised its full-year profit forecast.
The company said orders jumped in every segment. It expects fiscal-year earnings of $5.20 to $5.80 per share up from $3.60 to $4.40 per share.

With annual sales of $10 billion in fiscal year 2010, Parker Hannifin is a leading manufacturer of motion and control technologies and systems, providing precision-engineered solutions for a wide variety of mobile, industrial and aerospace markets.
The company employs approximately 55,000 people in 46 countries around the world.

Fiscal 2011 first quarter sales were $2.8 billion, an increase of 26.5 percent from $2.2 billion in the same quarter a year ago. Net income was $249.0 million compared with $74.0 million in the first quarter of fiscal 2010. Earnings per diluted share for the quarter were $1.51, which is a quarterly record and compares with $0.45 in last year's first quarter

"Demand levels continued to improve across many markets as reflected in a significant increase in sales for the first quarter," said Chairman, CEO and President Don Washkewicz. "Sales improved in every segment, with total sales increasing 27 percent organically, while foreign currency translation negatively impacted sales by 1 percent. Order rates also increased in all segments.

"We are particularly pleased with our ability to leverage improved top line performance into record level operating margins and earnings. Our total segment operating margin performance was at an all-time record level of 15.5 percent, led by record Industrial North America segment margins of 17.8 percent and record Industrial International segment margins of 16.8 percent. We also continued to deliver strong operating cash flow, which gave us the flexibility to make a discretionary contribution to our pension plan."

In the Industrial North America segment, first-quarter sales increased 36.0 percent to $1.1 billion, and operating income was $189.4 million compared with $76.2 million in the same period a year ago.

In the Industrial International segment, first-quarter sales increased 28.5 percent to $1.1 billion, and operating income was $183.8 million compared with $61.8 million in the same period a year ago.
In the Aerospace segment, first-quarter sales increased 4.8 percent to $436.7 million, and operating income was $43.8 million compared with $53.1 million in the same period a year ago.

In the Climate and Industrial Controls segment, first-quarter sales increased 25.5 percent to $234.7 million, and operating income was $21.6 million compared with $10.5 million in the same period a year ago.

Orders increased 31 percent in the Industrial North America segment, compared with the same quarter a year ago.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Industrial production drops 0.2 percent

Industrial production drops 0.2 percent

U.S. industrial production dropped in September for the first time since June, 2009, according to a report issued today.

Output at factories, mines and utilities fell 0.2 percent, the Federal Reserve said.

Factory production dropped 0.2 percent, reflecting declines in durable goods.
Capacity utilization slipped to 74.7% from a 74.8% rate in August.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Motion Industries' sales rise 29%

Motion’s parent company, GPC, posts strong results, led by its industrial and electrical businesses

Industrial distributor Motion Industries posted a 29% sales gain in the third-quarter, as sales reached $921 million compared to $711 million in the same period a year ago. A division of Genuine Parts Co., Motion Industries and its sister company, electrical/electronics distributor EIS Inc., turned in the strongest results for the quarter, helping GPC post a 22% earnings gain on top of a 13% sales increase.

GPC’s third-quarter sales totaled $2.95 billion. Net income for the third quarter was $132 million, a 22% increase from $108 million recorded in the same period last year. Earnings per share rose 24% to 83 cents.

GPC’s sales for the nine months ended Sept. 30 were $8.4 billion compared with $7.6 billion in the same period last year. Motion Industries’ sales for the first nine months of the year were $2.6 billion, compared to $2.15 billion in the first nine months of 2009.

GPC chairman, president and CEO Thomas Gallagher pointed to this year’s recovery in manufacturing as key to growth in its industrial and electrical groups.

“Sales for Motion Industries, our industrial group, were up 29% for the quarter, and EIS, our electrical group, generated a 31% increase,” he said in a statement announcing the results. “Both Motion Industries and EIS sell into the manufacturing sector of the economy, which has experienced a nice recovery in 2010 and is performing well today.”

GPC saw solid gains in its automotive group, as sales rose 7% for the second straight quarter. Sales in its office products group were down slightly, in line with the company’s expectations.

PT sales grew in U.S., Canada in August

U.S. sales were up 7.6 percent

Sales of power transmission/motion control (PT/MC) products by U.S. and Canadian manufacturers grew in August, after a decline in July. U.S. sales were up 7.6 percent and Canadian manufacturers’ sales were up 2.6 percent according to August 2010 sales data released by the Power Transmission Distributors Association (PTDA) in its Market Outlook Report.

In the U.S., year-to-date sales are up 10.2 percent over the same period in 2009. In Canada, sales are 12.0 percent ahead of 2009.

After three months at the neutral position of 5.0, confidence in the market by U.S. manufacturers dropped to 4.8 on a scale of 1 (very pessimistic) to 10 (outstanding). Canadian manufacturers’ confidence rose to 5.2, back from a drop to 4.9 in July.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Grainger reports 19 percent sales growth in Q3

Distributor raises outlook for year; will hire 150 sales reps

Broad line distributor Grainger Inc. reported today third quarter sales of $1.9billion, an increase of 19 percent versus the 2009 third quarter. Both quarters had the same number of selling days (64). Net earnings for the quarter increased 4 percent to $150 million versus $145 million in 2009.

Earnings per share increased 10 percent to $2.06 versus $1.88 for the third quarter of 2009. In the third quarter of 2009, Grainger obtained a majority ownership of MonotaRO Co., Ltd. in Japan, and recognized a one-time, non-operating gain of $47 million pre-tax, or $0.37 per share, from the revaluation of this investment. The third quarter of 2010, similar to the first two quarters of the year, benefitted from a policy change for employee paid time off that contributed $0.07 per share. Excluding these unusual items from both periods, net earnings increased 25 percent and earnings per share were up 32 percent for the quarter.

"Our focus on the foundational elements of our business, including industry-leading product availability, outstanding customer service and our ability to leverage economies of scale, was responsible for our strong performance in the quarter," said Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer Jim Ryan.

Ryan added, "We're taking advantage of our strong financial position by accelerating our investment in growth by hiring another 150 sales representatives and onsite inventory services managers, expanding our eCommerce capabilities and further developing services that complement our broad product offering.

“We expect that these investments will contribute to continued market share growth by helping our customers improve their productivity. In the near term however, we expect fourth quarter organic revenue growth to moderate given increasingly tougher comparisons, lower sales contribution from products used to clean up the Gulf of Mexico oil spill and the slowing of the inventory build cycle with our customers. Our strong performance in the first nine months of the year, combined with our expectations for the fourth quarter, gives us confidence to raise our 2010 sales growth guidance to a range of 14 to 15 percent and increase our earnings per share guidance to a range of $6.40 to $6.70, excluding unusual items."

Previous guidance, issued by Grainger in July 2010, forecasted sales growth of 12 to 14 percent and earnings per share of $6.10 to $6.40 for the full year 2010.
Daily sales for the company increased 21 percent in July, 20 percent in August and 18percent in September. For the quarter, acquisitions contributed 5 percentage points, while sales of oil spill related products contributed 3 percentage points. Sales of seasonal products and foreign exchange added 1percentage point each to sales growth in the quarter. Pricing was flat while volume increased 9 percent.

Company operating earnings of $251 million increased 35 percent in the quarter versus $187 million in the third quarter of 2009

The company has two reportable segments, the United States and Canada, which represent approximately 95 percent of company sales. The remaining operating units (Japan, Mexico, India, Puerto Rico, China, Panama and Colombia) are included in Other Businesses and are not considered a reportable segment.
Sales for the quarter in the United States segment increased 15 percent, 13 percent excluding acquisitions. Daily sales increased 17 percent in July, 15 percent in August and 13 percent in September. Sales of products related to the oil spill clean up contributed 3 percentage points to growth in the quarter. Sales of seasonal products added 1 percentage point due to the hot weather experienced across much of the United States in July and August. All customer end markets within the United States posted sales growth versus the 2009 third quarter.

Sales for the Acklands-Grainger business increased 22 percent in U.S.dollars and 15 percent in local currency versus the 2009 third quarter. Acquisitions completed during the last 12 months contributed 3 percentage points to the growth in the quarter. Local currency sales on a daily basis were up 13 percent in July, up 14percent in August and up 19 percent in September. The sales increase in Canada was led by strong growth to customers in the heavy manufacturing, forestry, mining, and oil and gas sectors of the economy, partially offset by a decline in sales to the government and contractors.

Operating earnings in Canada increased 74 percent in the quarter, 64 percent in local currency.

Sales for the Other Businesses, which include Japan, Mexico, India, Puerto Rico, China, Panama and Colombia, increased 191 percent in the quarter versus prior year. This growth was primarily due to incremental sales from the Japanese and Colombian businesses acquired in the last 12 months, combined with strong sales growth in Mexico, India, China and Panama.

The company also announced it has acquired SafetyCertified, a risk and management firm. Please see our previous post.

Grainger buys SafetyCertified

SafetyCertified is a risk and management business

Broad-line distributor Grainger Inc. said today has acquired substantially all of the assets of SafetyCertified, Inc. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

"As North America's largest distributor of safety products, we are committed to helping businesses and institutions manage and operate safe and healthy workplaces," said Mike Pulick, President of Grainger's U.S. Business. "As our customers are asked to do more with less, they are looking for a provider who can meet both product and service needs. By integrating new service capabilities like SafetyCertified into our
U.S. business, we will be able to offer solutions that we expect will help our customers maintain regulatory compliance, reduce accident and injury rates and decrease operating costs."

The SafetyCertified business is a safety and risk-management business that offers an online program to assist organizations in their efforts to comply with Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) regulations, with program features around OSHA analysis, compliance, training and research. Grainger will offer this fee-based online service to complement its extensive safety product line and focus on comprehensive safety solutions.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Fastenal reports strong earnings, sales

Company opened 90 stores in first nine months of 2010

The Fastenal Company today reported earnings of $200 million, or $1.36 a share, for the first nine months of 2010, compared to $140 million, or 94 cents a share, in the same period a year ago. Sales for the nine months ended Sept. 30th were $1.7 billion, compared to $1.5 billion in the same period a year ago.

Fastenal Company said Tuesday that third-quarter earnings were $75 million, or 51 cents a share, up from $47.6 million, or 32 cents a share, in the same period a year ago. Sales came in at $603.8 million, compared to $489.3 million for the quarter.

During the first nine months of 2010, Fastenal opened 90 new stores compared to 45 new stores in the same period of 2009. The 90 new stores represent an increase of 3.8% since December 31, 2009. Fastenal had 2,369 stores on December 31, 2009.

For the quarter, Fastenal's sales were $604 million, a 23% increase over $489 million in the third quarter of 2009. Third-quarter earnings rose 58% to $75 million, compared to $48 million in the third quarter of 2009. Earnings per share grew 59%, at 51 cents per share compared with 32 cents a share in the same period a year ago.

Fastenal's daily sales to manufacturing customers grew, on an annual basis, approximately 15.7%, 29.8%, and 30.6% in the first, second, and third quarters of 2010, respectively. In the first, second, third, and fourth quarters of 2009, the daily sales of this business contracted 16.0%, 25.2%, 22.8%, and 10.1%, respectively. For the year, total sales to manufacturing customers contracted 18.8% from 2008 to 2009.

Fastenal’s non-residential construction customers have historically represented 20% to 25% of the company’s business. The daily sales of this business contracted approximately 14.7% in the first quarter of 2010 and then grew 0.5% and 6.3% in the second and third quarters of 2010, respectively. In the first, second, third, and fourth quarters of 2009, the contraction was 6.4%, 19.6%, 25.3%, and 24.8%, respectively. For the year, Fastenal’s total sales to non-residential construction customers contracted 19.4% from 2008 to 2009.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Eaton completes acquisition of CopperLogic

Diversified manufacturer buys maker of electrical and electromechanical systems

Diversified industrial manufacturer Eaton Corp. said this week it completed its purchase of CopperLogic, Inc.

CopperLogic makes electrical and electromechanical systems, employs 170 people, and had sales of roughly $35 million during the last 12 months. The company has operations in the United States and Canada, with headquarters in Houston, Texas, and Mississauga, Ontraio.

The deal boosts Eaton’s business with machinery original equipment manufacturers (OEMs), Eaton said in announcing the deal on September 27.

Eaton has roughly 70,000 employees, sells products to customers in more than 150 countries, and had 2009 sales of $11.9 billion. The company specializes in electrical components and systems for power quality, distribution and control; hydraulics components, systems and services for industrial and mobile equipment; aerospace fuel, hydraulics and pneumatic systems for commercial and military use; and truck and automotive drivetrain and powertrain systems for performance, fuel economy and safety.

BlackHawk buys Duncan Industrial Solutions

It is the first of many expected acquisitions for BlackHawk Industrial Distribution

BlackHawk Industrial Distribution of Tulsa and Brazos Private Equity Partners of Dallas have purchased Oklahoma-based Duncan Industrial Solutions.

BlackHawk is a new company formed by Bill Scheller former CEO of ORS Nasco. Duncan Industrial, a distributor of industrial supplies and equipment, is the company's first acquisition

"Duncan has demonstrated strong performance since it was founded in 1948 and will continue to operate its business in the same fashion going forward,” Scheller said. "Our commitment to Duncan's strategic plan, customers, suppliers, employees and business model will continue to be the foundation upon which we grow our business.”

Duncan has about 160 employees in seven states. The headquarters will remain in Oklahoma City.

"I want to build a national player,” Scheller said. "Duncan is an industrial distributor with deep relationships with its customers.”
Blackhawk will be looking to acquire other companies.

The acquisition of Duncan Industrial by BlackHawk will mean an acceleration of the strategic plan developed by the management team. The focus will be to rapidly grow the business into new market segments, new product categories and new geographical areas.

Blackhawk and Duncan have reportedly identified a pipeline of additional opportunities for growth through acquisitions.

Brazos Private Equity Partners is a middle-market private equity group based in Dallas, TX who partners with individuals, such as Bill Scheller, to invest in companies like BlackHawk and Duncan.

Scheller, the CEO of BlackHawk Industrial, has almost 30 years of experience in the distribution sector, including serving as president and CEO of ORS Nasco.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Avnet acquires two companies

Avnet distributes electronic components, connectors, semiconductors, technology solutions, computer products and embedded technology.

Avnet Inc. yestgerday announced it had made two acquisitions: certain assets of Eurotone Electric Ltd., a distributor of inverters for wind and solar power applications in China, and Broadband Integrated Resources Ltd., a U.S. company specializing in the repair of broadband and cable TV equipment for support of cable operators and manufacturers.

Broadband, with facilities in Columbus and Dallas, has 50 employees and revenue of $9.5 million, according to Phoenix-based Avnet. Founded in 2001, it will become part of Avnet Logistics Services, which provides value added supply chain and logistics services to the global technology industry.

"This acquisition demonstrates our commitment to expand into adjacent services opportunities and provides an entry into the reverse logistics business as well as a new customer base in North America," stated Steve Church, Senior Vice President; Chief Business Development and Process Officer. "With management, systems and processes that have built a successful reverse logistics business, Avnet Logistics Services will gain a proven platform upon which we can expand our service offerings."

Monday, October 4, 2010

Stanley Black & Decker to close R.I. plant

Company makes nails, staples and other products under the Bostitch name

Stanley Black & Decker is closing its East Greenwich, R.I. nail and staples factory and will lay off 128 workers. The company said 75 workers will keep their jobs and work at a smaller facility at an undetermined Rhode Island location. The East Greenwich factory makes nails and staples branded with the Bostitch name. In a statement, the company said it was making the move to keep the Bostitch business globally competitive

The shutdown will occur in stages, starting next March, as the factory gradually lays off 128 of the approximately 203 workers who remain there after a series of cutbacks in recent years. The factory will close by December, 2012.

The 75 workers who will keep their jobs will move into a smaller facility at an undetermined location in Rhode Island.
Stanley Fastening Systems, a subsidiary, operates the East Greenwich plant, which manufactures nails and staples branded with the Bostitch name. Production being done in East Greenwich will move to a new facility in Greenfield, Ind.

“This decision was made to realign the fixed-cost structure associated with manufacturing various types of steel fasteners, to enable the Bostitch business to remain globally competitive,” the New Britain, Conn.-based Stanley Black & Decker said in a statement.

The announcement of the shutdown follows earlier rounds of layoffs at the plant over the past several years. At its peak, the factory had about 1,400 workers in the 1980s. A decade ago, it appeared that the factory would close after some production shifted overseas, but it managed to survive. Still, by 2008, the work force had dropped to 633 workers, the Providence Journal reported.
The decline continued with the recession and the downturn in the construction industry. In February, the company announced that it would shut down nail production in East Greenwich this month and eliminate 165 positions.

Textron, the Rhode Island-based conglomerate, acquired Bostitch in 1966, and then sold it in 1986 for $193 million to The Stanley Works, based in New Britain, Conn. Sales were about $200 million then.

The Stanley Works merged with tool manufacturer Black & Decker last March to form Stanley Black & Decker. The company reported sales of $2.4 billion for the second quarter of this year.

Friday, October 1, 2010

Manufacturing slowed in September

Fourth quarter could be weaker than expected

Manufacturing expanded in September at the slowest pace in 10 months, indicating that that the fourth quarter could be weaker than originally expected.

The Institute for Supply Management’s factory index dropped to 54.4 from 56.3 in August, the group reported today. Readings greater than 50 signal growth.

Norbert Ore, head of the ISM’s survey committee, said the September report was “less encouraging” and suggested a weaker fourth quarter.

Meanwhile, a separate report said today that China’s manufacturing expanded in September at the fastest pace in four months. The purchasing managers’ index rose to 53.8 from an August reading of 51.7,

Growth in European manufacturing slowed. A gauge of manufacturing in the 16-nation euro region declined to 53.7 in September from 55.1 the previous month.

The ISM’s U.S. new orders index declined to 51.1 from 53.1, while the production index decreased to 56.5 from 59.9.

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Stock Building Supply reports $46 million loss

Wolseley, minority owner in Stock, writes off $64 million in Saturn Acquisition Holdings

Stock Building Supply has reported a $46 million loss on revenue of $950 million for the year ended July 31st. Just three years ago, the building materials supply company had sales of more than $5 billion.

Pro Sales magazine had an in-depth report on the report. For the full story go to

In reporting its financial results yesterday, the U.K. based Wolseley, the largest plumbing and heating distributor in the world and parent of Ferguson Enterprises, said it is moving its tsax residence to Switzerland. The company, which trades in the UK, North American and Europe, said it would create a new group holding company, New Wolseley, that would be UK listed, incorporated in Jersey and have tax residence in Switzerland.

"The board has concluded that the interests of its business and its shareholders are best served by establishing an international holding company corporate structure that will help provide more certainty in its taxation position,"
The change is expected to enable Wolseley to "achieve a competitive effective corporate tax rate."
Wolseley reported total sales of nearly $21 billion, down 9 percent from the previous year.
Wolseley is not paying a dividend this year, but said it hoped to resume payments in the first-half of 2011.
Ian Meakins, chief executive, said: "Whilst overall we remain cautious about the outlook for our markets, we are confident that Wolseley will make good progress in the year ahead."

U.S. economic growth slowed to 1.7% in Q2

Drop from 3.7% in first quarter

U.S. economic growth slowed to an annual rate of 1.7% in the second quarter, compared with 3.7% in the first quarter and 5 percent at the end of 2009, the Commerce Department said today.

Exports of goods and services rose 9.1%. However, imports rose 33.5%, the largest jump since 1984.

Meanwhile, initial jobless claims dropped by 16,000 to 453,000 last week, lower than what many economists had forecast, the Labor Department said today.
GDP was forecast to grow at a 1.6 percent annual pace, according to several economic forecasts.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Danaher to buy Keithley Instruments

Keithley will become part of Danaher’s Tektronix business

Danaher Corp. said today that it has agreed to buy Keithley Instruments Inc. , an electrical test instruments and systems manufacturer for $21.60 a share, a deal valued at about $300 million net of cash to be assumed.

"Along with Fluke and Tektronix, Keithley further solidifies Danaher's leading position in the test and measurement industry and presents an attractive value creation opportunity," said Jim Lico, executive vice president at Danaher.
Upon the closing of the transaction, Keithley would be part of Danaher's Tektronix business.

The acquisition, subject to customary closing conditions, is expected to be completed during the fourth quarter of calendar 2010. The acquisition has been unanimously approved by the Keithley board.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Midwest manufacturing index drops 1.4% in August

Richmond-area index also drops

The Chicago Federal Reserve Bank’s Midwest Manufacturing Index (CFMMI) decreased 1.4 percent in August, to a seasonally adjusted level of 79.9. Revised data show the index rose 1.9 percent in July to 81.0.

Here are some of the numbers contained in the report:
• Regional auto sector output fell 6.9 percent;
• Regional machinery sector production edged up 0.3 percent
• Regional steel sector output grew 0.8 percent; and
• Regional resource sector production rose 0.9 percent.

The region’s auto sector production fell 6.9 percent in August after increasing 7.6 percent in July. The Midwest’s machinery sector production edged up 0.3 percent in August after ticking up 0.2 percent in July. The nation’s machinery production increased 0.7 percent in August.

Meanwhile, the Richmond Fed's seasonally adjusted composite index of manufacturing activity fell to -2 in September from +13 in August. Shipments fell fifteen points to -4, new orders lost 10 points to finish at 0, and the jobs index declined fifteen points to -3.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Durable goods orders drop 1.3% in August

Excluding transportation, new orders rose 2%

Orders for U.S.-made durable goods fell 1.3% in August, the largest decline in a year and below expectations of many economists, the Commerce Department reported today.

Excluding automotive and aircraft, new orders rose 2%.

Shipments in August fell 1.5%, compared with a gain of 2.5% in the prior month.
Inventories of durable goods rose 0.4% in August, following a gain of 0.6% in July.

Manufacturing has been slowing down , according to other recent surveys.Factories in the New York region expanded in September at the slowest pace this year, while manufacturing in the Philadelphia area contracted for a second month, according to regional Fed surveys. Manufacturing output nationwide grew 0.2 percent in August following a 0.7 percent July gain, the Fed said last week.

PT/motion control sales drop in July

Power transmission sales are still up year to year in U.S. and Canada

Sales of power transmission/motion control (PT/MC) products by U.S. manufacturers dropped in July by 1.3 percent compared to June and Canadian manufacturers’ sales dropped by 12.3 percent according to July 2010 sales data released by the Power Transmission Distributors Association (PTDA) in its Market Outlook Report.

Although sales dropped in July, sales year-to-date are still ahead of the same period in 2009. In the U.S., year-to-date sales are up 7.6 percent over the same period in 2009. In Canada, sales are 10.3 percent ahead of 2009.

For the third consecutive month, confidence in the market by U.S. manufacturers holds a neutral position of 5.0, while Canadian manufacturers’ confidence dropped from 5.2 back to 4.9 from 5.1 on a scale of 1 (very pessimistic) to 10 (outstanding).

Month-to-month sales for product categories between June 2010 and July 2010 for U.S. and Canadian manufacturers are reported below.
The Market Outlook Report is published monthly by the Power Transmission Distributors Association. The full report includes U.S. and Canadian manufacturer data for sales and order trends for mounted bearings, unmounted bearings, standard industrial motors (U.S. only), variable speed drives, positioning systems/linear motion products, gear products, clutches and brakes, shaft couplings and mechanical drive systems and other PT products.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Timken acquires QM Bearings and Power Transmission

QM has annual sales of more than $14 million

The Timken Company (NYSE: TKR) has acquired QM Bearings and Power Transmission, Inc., based in Ferndale, Washington. That location, as well as manufacturing facilities in Prince George, British Columbia, and Wuxi, China, along with distribution facilities in Ontario, Texas, and Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio, will become part of the Process Industries segment of Timken's Bearings and Power Transmission Group.

The acquisition is expected to be accretive to Timken's earnings in its first full year with the company. The addition of spherical roller-bearing steel-housed units and elastomeric and steel couplings expands Timken's capabilities beyond its existing, core lines for especially demanding applications such as sawmill and cement operations.

"We welcome QM associates to Timken's family of businesses and look forward to serving our customers with a broader offering of high-performance products for demanding power-transmission applications," said Michael C. Arnold, president of Timken’s Bearings and Power Transmission Group.

QM has approximately 100 employees in the United States, Canada and China, and posted sales of more than $14 million for the 12-month period through June 30, 2010.

General Cable continues to expand internationally

Company acquires Egyptian manufacturer;joint venture in Oman

General Cable Corporation (NYSE: BGC), has acquired BICC Egypt. BICC Egypt manufactures a wide variety of wire and cable products for the electrical markets including low voltage insulated power and control cables, building wire, instrumentation cable, halogen free power and control cables, and overhead power cables. In the last 12 months, the business reported revenues of approximately $30 million.

The acquisition of BICC Egypt furthers the Company's geographic expansion by establishing a production and commercial base in one of the largest and fastest growing markets in the Mediterranean and North African region. The Company believes the demand for wire and cable products in Egypt will continue to grow faster than many other nations due to increasing investment in infrastructure and power generation projects, a growing population, and a favorable GDP outlook.

General Cable also has formed a joint venture with International Cable Industries LLC (ICI), a limited liability company organized in Oman. The joint venture company in which General Cable will have a majority interest will distribute a wide variety of wire and cable products for the energy, electrical infrastructure and construction markets in Oman and other Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries. General Cable will provide access to a wide range of its products and offer technical support to ICI.

Actuant to divest European Electrical Business

European electrical busness markets under Kopp brand name

Actuant Corporation plans to divest its European Electrical business, which markets its products primarily under the Kopp brand name. The European Electrical business has previously been reported as part of the Company's Electrical segment.

"This planned transaction reflects our proactive portfolio management efforts to focus on platforms where we can create the most shareholder value," said Robert C. Arzbaecher, Actuant Chairman and CEO.

European Electrical (consisting of Kopp and Dresco) designs, manufactures and markets electrical sockets, switches and other tools and consumables predominately for the European Do-It-Yourself (DIY) retail market. It has operations in Germany, Austria and Tunisia, and employs approximately 525 people. Its annual revenues approximate $105 million.

"The Kopp business has a strong brand and market position, a committed workforce, and prospects for future profitable growth," continued Arzbaecher in a press release. "However, we believe that future growth can be more fully realized with an owner focused on the European DIY market. I want to thank the employees for their many contributions under Actuant ownership. During the divestiture process, the European Electrical business will continue to focus on meeting and exceeding customer requirements for high quality electrical products."

Actuant is a manufacturer of branded hydraulic and electrical tools, highly engineered position and motion control systems, and specialized products and services for energy related industries.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Acklands-Grainger buys Solus Securite

Canadian distributor has C$20 million in sales

Grainger today announced that its Canadian subsidiary, Acklands-Grainger Inc., Canada's largest distributor of industrial, safety and fastener supplies, has purchased Solus Securite Inc. With 2009 sales of approximately C$20 million, Solus Securite is a leading fire protection and safety distributor in Quebec with locations in Trois Rivieres, Victoriaville, Montreal and Sorel. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

"Our Quebec customers have told us they want more products and services available to them that help them keep their facilities and employees safe," said Sean O'Brien, President of Acklands-Grainger. "Working together with our new team members and sharing best practices, we will leverage our combined expertise to offer local customers more of the products and services they need, where and when they need them, including safety product repairs and technical support."

"Solus Securite has worked hard since 1978 to provide businesses and institutions in Quebec with quality, full-service distribution and strong technical expertise," said Normand Belanger, President, Solus Securite. "We are thrilled to be joining Canada's leading industrial, safety and fastener distributor and know our customers will benefit from Acklands-Grainger's broad product offering, industry-leading supply chain and commitment to service."

Acklands-Grainger has served Quebec for more than 73 years and employs more than 135 team members in the province. Over the years the company has made significant investments across the province to meet the evolving needs of local business, including its acquisition of Excel Industriel in 2008.

Acklands-Grainger and Solus Securite will continue to operate separately in their respective locations for the immediate future.