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Moving Forward

These are trying times in industrial distribution. An ongoing industrial products recession that started when oil prices began their plunge in the summer of 2014 continues to grip the entire sector, putting a strain on distributors and suppliers alike. Many thought conditions would have improved by now, and certain signs say they have. But several prominent distributors say meaningful recovery is still a ways away.

In a post-earnings conference call in early July, MSC Industrial CEO Erik Gershwind discussed an overall pessimistic view across the market, saying that previous notions of industrial recovery “has given way to more belt tightening and less optimism among our customers.” He went on to mention hearing more talk about “furloughs, time off and even some layoffs,” among distributors and suppliers alike. Likewise, Fastenal’s Q2 fiscal report mentioned that though Q1 showed some signs of economic improvement, it expected plant shutdowns and slowdowns to continue into the third quarter.

Industrial Distribution’s 2016 Survey of Distributor Operations — conducted in March — showed that only 42.5 percent of respondents say their sales increased in 2015, down a whopping 27 percentage points from 2014. That coincided with only 45.2 percent saying profits increased, down 16 points. Going further, 68 percent of respondents picked economic conditions as their primary concern.

Overall, it’s still a gloomy industrial economy and distributors have to make the best it. After several quarters in which companies suffered large year-over-year sales and profit decreases, it appears that consolidation and restructuring efforts are taking effect, making those declines considerably smaller than they were for the majority of 2015.

Despite industry downturn, distributors will survive and keep moving forward. They always have. Current market conditions mean that distributors have had to lean up their operations and get them in better physical condition to navigate these times of weakened demand for industrial products.

ID’s annual Big 50 List typically sees companies reporting higher and higher sales year-over-year, which makes the 2016 all the more interesting as many companies brought in less revenue than in 2015. Read on to find out which distributors moved up, down, or are new to the list compared to last year.

Congratulations to our Big 50 List of industrial distributors.

— Mike Hockett, Editor

Click here to view out the full Big 50 feature in our September/October Digital edition, which includes commentary about, or by, those companies. Here's part one (Nos. 50-31), part two (30-11) and part three (top 10) of our video countdown.

Rank, Company 2015 Sales Headquarters CEO (*also president) Locations Employees
1. Wolseley $20.8 billion Reading, England John Martin 2,743 37,727
2. Würth Group $12.2 billion Kunzelsau,
Germany
Robert Friedmann 400 70,000
3. Grainger $10 billion Lake Forest, IL Jim Ryan
(DG Macpherson on 10/1)
669 25,100
4. Sonepar North America $9.6 billion Charleston, SC David Gabriel 1,014 N/A
5. WESCO International $7.5 billion Pittsburgh, PA John Engel 500 9,300
6. HD Supply $7.4 billion Atlanta, GA Joe DeAngelo 550 14,000
7. Airgas $5.3 billion Radnor, PA Michael Molinini (interim) 1,100 17,000
8. Motion Industries $4.7 billion Birmingham, AL Tim Breen 594 6,387
9. MRC Global $4.5 billion Houston, TX Andrew Lane* 350 3,900
10. Fastenal $3.9 billion Winona, MN Dan Florness 2,605 20,324
11. Descours and Cabaud $3.6 billion Lyon, France Alain Morvand 600 12,000
12. DistributionNOW $3 billion Houston, TX Robert Workman 300 5,000
13. MSC Industrial
Supply
$2.9 billion Melville, NY Erik Gershwind* 97 6,510
14. WinSupply $2.7 billion Dayton, OH Jack Johnston 580 5,600
15. Applied Industrial
Technologies
$2.6 billion Cleveland, OH Neil Schrimsher* 564 5,716
16. ERIKS nv $2.3 billion AAlkmaar,
The Netherlands
Simon Franken 400 8,000
17. Edgen Murray

Not disclosed

Baton Rouge, LA Daniel O'Leary 33 550+
18. Interline Brands Not disclosed Jacksonville, FL Michael Grebe N/A 4,400+
19. DXP Enterprises $1.25 billion Houston, TX David Little 191 3,234
20. Kaman Industrial
Technologies
$1.2 billion Bloomfield, CT Steve Smidler, president 238 2,180
21. F.W. Webb $960 million Bedford, MA Jeff Pope, president 85 2,300
22. EIS Inc. $762 million Atlanta, GA Bob Thomas 60 1,200
23. United Distribution
Group
Not disclosed Bristol, CT Darrell Cole 85 900+
24. Global Industrial $699 million Port Washington, NY Bob Dooley, president 9 986
25. BDI $687 million Cleveland, OH Carl James 205 1,547
26. Bossard $655 million Zug, Switzerland David Dean 70+ 2,000+
27. Turtle & Hughes Not disclosed Linden, NJ Jayne Millard 9 850
28. BlackHawk Industrial $430 million Broken Arrow, OK Bill Scheller 27 710
29. EWIE Group $410 million Ann Arbor, MI Dilip Mullick 16 824
30. SBP Holdings $364 million Houston, TX Otis Dufrene 51 1,000
31. FCX Performance $330 million Columbus, OH Tom Cox 34 525
32. R.S. Hughes $321 million Sunnyvale, CA Bob McCollum 50 525
33. AWC $319 million Baton Rouge, LA Bob Wenyon 27 380
34. Production Tool
Supply
$317 million Warren, MI Lawrence Wolfe 25 577
35. DGI Supply $295 million Wheeling, IL Jeff Waller 46 550
36. Ohio Transmission 
Corp.
$293 million Columbus, OH Philip Derrow 23 631
37. Wajax Industrial 
Components
$281 million Mississauga, ON Mark Foote 60 774
38. Lawson Products $276 million Chicago, IL Michael DeCata 5 1,619
39. Hisco $276 million Houston, TX Bob Dill 36 460
40. Kimball Midwest $214 million Columbus, OH Pat McCurdy, Jr. 4 1,300
41. Tencarva Machinery $209 million Greensboro, NC Ed Pearce 26 360
42. Hydradyne $206 million Fort Worth, TX David parks 32 504
43. Valin Corporation $167 million San Jose, CA Joe Nettemeyer* 18 267
44. IBT Industrial
Solutions
$162 million Merriam, KS Michael Flannery 44 440
45. Shively Bros. $159 million Flint, MI Scott Shively 12 306
46. CBT $157 million Cincinnati, OH James Stahl, Jr. 2 171
47. Womack Machine 
Supply
$148 million Farmers Branch, TX Mike Rowlett 15 233
48. Mahar Tool Supply $131 million Saginaw, MI Barbara Mahar Lincoln 3 133
49. Bridgestone
Hosepower
$129 million Orange Park, FL Palmer Clarkson 42 472
50. JGB Enterprises $123 million Liverpool, NY Jay G Bernhardt 5 235

Just missing the list was Annapolis Junction, MD-based Cummins-Wagner, which would have been No. 51 with $111 million. Under the direction of president and CEO Doug Ardinger, Cummins-Wagner has nine locations and 220 employees.

METHODOLOGY

All Big 50 companies are ranked according to 2015 total worldwide sales, and all figures are reported in USD (in some cases converted based on the estimated exchange rate). We obtain information for publicly-traded companies based on annual reports, earning statements and company verifications. For the privately-held companies, we rely on self-reported data and follow-up interviews. Recently published press releases and company website information is also used to supplement data for this report. The Big 50 interviews were conducted via email, survey and phone by Industrial Distribution editorial staff.

The locations and employee headcount figures are as of Aug. 15, 2016.

We elect to refrain from listing any companies we are unable to obtain confirmed revenue numbers for, therefore there are a small number of companies we estimate would have earned a place on the list that were omitted.

For those of you who don’t see your company names (but think you should): Please contact us with your information and we’ll add you to our pool for next year. As always, your feedback is appreciated.

Please feel free to reach out to ID’s editor, Mike Hockett, with comments or questions: mike.hockett@advantagemedia.com

 

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