It doesn't seem all that long ago that electrical distributors were struggling with the change in identity of Square D to Schneider Electric after the French company's 1991 acquisition of one of the best-known brands in the business.
Square D, its familiar logo, and the company's commanding market share in circuit breakers, load centers and other distribution equipment fit electrical distributors like their favorite baseball mitt. As more than 40 business journalists found out at Schneider Electric's recent Editors' Event, these products are still an important part of Schneider's product mix 20 years after the acquisition. But the French giant has expanded far past the traditional electrical distribution market and has become a leading player in some of the fastest-growing and most intriguing electrical markets in the world, including the smart grid, data centers, electric vehicles, building automation and solar products.
The company's sales have kept pace with this growth, even in a dicey market environment. Over the past decade Schneider Electric's annual global sales have grown from $9.7 billion euros to $20 billion Euros as it evolved from a “circuit breaker company to a solutions company,” said Jeff Drees, U.S. country president at event in Chicago on Oct. 14. He expects three 2011 acquisitions to position it for even more growth in the future: Lee Technologies. Fairfax, Va., a data center specialist; Telvent, Fort Collins, Colo., a major player in the smart grid; and Summit Energy, Louisville, Ky., a provider provides energy management and sustainability services.
More in next week's issue of Electrical Marketing.