When contractors and manufacturers need parts, it's WESCO to the rescue. The company distributes electrical products (fuses, terminals, connectors, enclosures, circuit breakers, transformers, switchboards), industrial supplies (tools, abrasives, filters, safety equipment), lighting (lamps, fixtures, ballasts), wire and conduit materials, automation equipment (motors, drives, logic controllers), and data communication gear (patch panels, terminals, connectors). WESCO offers more than a million products from some 18,000 suppliers, with about 65,000 customers worldwide. It operates through a dozen subsidiaries. The company gets nearly all of its sales in North America, predominantly the US.
Sales and Marketing
Sales to electrical contractors range from major industrial, commercial, and data communication projects, to small residential contractors. Utilities and specialty utility contractors include large and rural electric cooperatives and municipal power authorities, which maintain transmission, distribution lines, and power plants. Commercial, institutional, and governmental customers includes schools, hospitals, property management firms, retailers, and government agencies of all types. WESCO sells integrated lighting control and distribution equipment in a single package for multisite specialty retailers, restaurant chains, and department stores. Its largest supplier, Eaton Corporation, accounts for about 12% of the company's total purchases.
The recessionary year of 2009 was rough, as it was on many companies. WESCI saw sales decline by one quarter, profits fall by one half, and the company reduced its workforce by about 15% as a result. As WESCO picks up in the aftermath of the recession, the company must contend with around $874 million in debt. WESCO plans to repay nearly $147 million of that debt over three years.
WESCO plans to build its business through acquisitions and organic growth. The company has said that it will focus on its global account and integrated supply programs to increase its customer base and to extend its use of supply services to customers. It targets customers in the fields of construction contracting; education; engineering, procurement, and construction firms; government; health care; and utilities. Among product growth areas, WESCO looks toward data communications and security systems, and to clean tech lighting systems.
WESCO purchased Canada-based EECOL Electric Corporation in late 2012 for around $1.4 billion. Serving more than 20,000 customers, EECOL is an electric products distributor operating from around 55 locations across Canada and 20 locations in South America.
In December 2011 WESCO obtained Michigan-based RS Electronics for an undisclosed amount. RS Electronics distributes electronic and electrical products to the industrial, medical equipment, automotive and contract manufacturing industries from eight branches in the Midwest and Southeast. Earlier that year WESCO bought RECO, a top distributor of Siemens industrial automation and controls. The purchase expanded WESCO's automation, controls, and electrical distribution and services business and adds six branches located in the midwestern and southeastern regions of the US. – less