Contractor and industrial products wholesale buying group AD announced Thursday that it and fellow buying group SafetyNetwork are pursuing a potential merger that would occur in the spring of 2020. The partnership would result in the creation of AD's only safety-dedicated division that is focused on the growth of independent distributors in the safety market.
Founded in 1989 as The Safety Marketing Group, Tampa, FL-based SafetyNetwork is branded as "a buying group comprised of like-minded, leading safety distributors focused on providing safety equipment and services to the far-reaching corners of industry."
"Its unique training and certification programs and online resource Safeopedia provide easy access to occupational health and safety information for professionals in the field, and help members advance efforts to educate all participants in the channel on the importance of safe work environments," AD stated Thursday.
“SafetyNetwork members are long-time, well-respected leaders in the safety space, and bring tremendous scale to our already growing safety segment,” said Marisol Fernandez, president of AD's Industrial and Safety - US Division, about the prospects of the merger.
AD added that SafetyNetwork CEO Mike Smeaton said AD’s programs and services will bring tremendous value to his group’s members and supplier-partners.
“I’m really looking forward to introducing our members to AD-unique programs like eCommerce, AD Rewards and market planning,” Smeaton said. “These offerings serve to make our members stronger, distinguish them from their competitors, and meet their growth objectives.”
AD chairman and CEO Bill Weisberg noted that receiving approval by both AD and SafetyNetwork boards to move forward with the process is an excellent signal: “I appreciate the confidence that both boards have shown with their contingency approvals last month,” Weisberg said. “They are showing exceptional leadership for the betterment of all members. The benefits they see coming from increased scale are compelling and include increased purchasing power, expanded services, access to a larger supplier base and sustainability. In areas where industrial and safety should collaborate, we will collaborate. In areas where they should remain separate, we will maintain separation.”
David Ruggles is the president of third-generation family-owned Martin Supply and serves as chair of AD’s Industrial & Safety divisional board of directors: “As an active participant in AD’s governance, I can say firsthand that AD is a member-driven, collaborative organization that truly believes in the idea that together, we win” Ruggles said. “The Industrial Safety Division board is supportive of this addition and we’re looking forward to welcoming Mike and his team, and their members, to the AD community.”
SafetyNetwork’s Board Chair and Quest Safety President Sam Yadav highlighted the benefits a prospective merger brings to both groups: “This merger will provide enhanced capabilities to both groups,” Yadav noted. “SafetyNetwork members will have access to programs and services like e-Commerce that are critical to the long-term viability of our channel. AD members will benefit from SafetyNetwork’s strong technical expertise and training capabilities. We view this as an evolution of our strategy to help independents compete and win.”
Yadav underscored the importance of ensuring his members can get informed and provide input and guidance: “We want our members to have their questions answered, and to have a chance to talk with us and with the team at AD so that their decisions are well-informed.”