Around the Industry

May 11, 2012
Rexel and Quanta had a good first quarter; General Cable opens a plant in India; EMCOR wins contract with Coast Guard; EVSE news and more

Rexel’s global sales up 7.4% in 1Q

Sales for Rexel SA, Paris, increased nicely in 1Q 2012, jumping 7.4% to €3.227 billion (US $4.24 billion). In a press release announcing the results, Rudy Provoost, chairman of the management board and CEO, said, “Rexel posted a strong performance in the first quarter, in a globally challenging context. Sales continued to grow, driven by the Americas, northern Europe and China, and we further improved our profitability through gross margin enhancement and cost control. Since the start of the year, we expanded our footprint in fast-growing markets and strengthened our presence in mature markets with eight acquisitions, which will fuel growth in the coming quarters…

“Rexel is poised to continue its profitable growth by providing its clients with value-added services and further developing its energy efficiency-related business, while continuing to focus on operational excellence. We are fully on track to achieve our financial targets for the full-year.”

Quanta smashes profit record in 1Q

Buoyed by new pipeline projects and a sizeable solar contract, Quanta Services Inc., Houston, reported that the first quarter of 2012 was the most profitable first quarter in the company’s history. Jim O’Neil, president and CEO, said, “Our electric power segment was the major contributor to the strong first quarter performance, primarily due to safe, efficient execution on a record number of transmission projects. Based on our performance in this year’s first quarter, increased backlog, and improved visibility in the natural gas and pipeline segment, we have increased our full year 2012 guidance.”

Among Quanta’s recent project wins, the company is part of a project led by Petroplex International, Baton Rouge, La., to develop a $600 million multi-modal bulk liquid terminal in St. James Parish, with a projected initial storage capacity of 4 million to 6 million barrels. The initial phase of the project includes the design, engineering, development and operation of a state-of-the-art storage terminal that is capable of receipt or delivery between a variety of intermodal systems, including trucks, railcars, marine barges and ocean-going vessels, and connections to the existing and future pipeline infrastructure systems.

General Cable opens plant in India

General Cable Corp., Highland Heights, Ky., has completed construction on its state-of-the-art manufacturing facility in Baddi, Himachal Pradesh, India. At current installed capacity, the facility is capable of generating annual revenues in the range of $100 million to $120 million, complementing the company’s existing exports into the country. Designed and built in compliance with Indian Green Building standards, the manufacturing facility is situated on 20 acres of land in the industrial town of Baddi, in the state of Himachal Pradesh.

Sandeep Sood, country head of India operations, said in a press release announcing the completion of construction, “By designing ‘green’ from the ground up, we have seen immediate benefits in operating costs. These include energy savings of 30% to 40% and water savings of 20% to 30% when compared to other similar wire and cable operations.”

Dynalectric/EMCOR to handle electrical work for U.S. Coast Guard

EMCOR Inc., Norwalk, Conn., says its Dynalectric subsidiary won a contract for the design/build of the electrical systems for the Consolidated National Operations Center of the U.S. Coast Guard Main Headquarters in Washington D.C. According to a company press release, Dynalectric will install all of the electrical power, lighting and controls for a modular utility plant, which will provide normal and emergency power, including a supply of 1,200 tons of chilled water, for the Consolidated National Operations Center. Bringing the plant online will include the installation of a mile of underground 15KV power feeders.

ABB launches EV DC fast charger in U.S. market

Having already delivered hundreds of DC fast chargers throughout Europe, Zurich, Switzerland-based ABB announced its entry into the U.S. market for electric vehicle charging solutions with the launch of its Terra 51 DC charger, a big seller in the European market, marking the start of what it says will be a massive infrastructure rollout to further drive the mass adoption of electric mobility. The Terra 51 will be manufactured in New Berlin, Wis., and will be available for delivery in the second half of this year.

The Terra 51 is an intelligent DC fast charger that reduces electric vehicle charging times from eight hours, using regular alternating current (AC), to as little as 15 to 30 minutes. The Terra 51 was initially launched in Europe in 2010 as the region’s first commercially available DC charging station and is well established as the leading fast charger in terms of installed base, reliability and functionality, ABB says.

Ventyx closes network control deals in Latin America

Ventyx, a software company acquired by ABB last year, signed significant multimillion dollar deals with two leading Latin American power companies. Under the new contracts, with CDEC-SIC in Chile and UTE in Uruguay, Ventyx will provide a complete control center network management solution. CDEC-SIC, an independent system operator (ISO) in Chile, is responsible for coordinating the operation of the electrical system that covers 92 percent of the country’s population. In Uruguay, long-time Ventyx customer UTE will upgrade its previous SCADA/EMS system to Ventyx Network Manager, including the adoption of new advanced applications focused on high-voltage network operations. Ventyx recently established a delivery center for Network Control projects in Brazil to support South American markets.

Eaton posts solid gains, offers brighter outlook

Eaton Corp., Cleveland, reported an 8 percent increase in net income and record sales for the first quarter. Sales in the quarter were a first quarter record of $4 billion, 4 percent above the same period in 2011. Net income was $311 million, up 8 percent over the first quarter of 2011.

The Americas provided the juice for Eaton’s electrical business, overcoming stagnation in the rest of the world. Sales for the Electrical Americas segment were $1.1 billion, up 13 percent over 2011. Operating profits were $162 million. Excluding acquisition integration charges of $1 million during the quarter, operating profits were $163 million, up 21 percent over the first quarter of 2011.

“We entered 2012 expecting it would be a year of subpar global economic growth, leading to approximately 5 percent growth in our markets,” said Eaton Chairman and CEO Sandy Cutler. “We continue to believe that for the full year markets will grow 5 percent, but we now believe the rate of growth in our U.S. markets will be higher than originally expected and the rate of growth in our non-U.S. markets will be lower than originally expected.”

Honda prefers Leviton for EVSE

American Honda Motor Co. announced that Leviton Manufacturing Co., Melville, N.Y., has been selected as Honda’s preferred electric vehicle supply equipment (EVSE) provider for customer and dealer EV charging. Honda will be introducing two battery-electric vehicles beginning with the 2013 Honda Fit EV this summer, and the Honda Accord Plug-In Hybrid Sedan next winter. The Accord will use an all-new, two-motor hybrid system which continuously moves through three different modes — all-electric, with up to a 15 miles per charge range; gasoline-electric; and direct-drive — to maximize driving and fuel efficiency, especially during city driving.

ABB CEO nixes rumors of Rockwell acquisition

According to a report from Reuters, ABB CEO Joe Hogan told Germany’s Handelsblatt newspaper that the rumors about ABB’s intentions to acquire Rockwell Automation are untrue. The article also said ABB has budgeted “between $9 billion and $18 billion for acquisitions over a five-year period from 2011.” ABB made headlines in the electrical market over the past two years with its acquisitions of Baldor Electric and software firm Ventyx.

DOE posts new plan for SSL R&D

Each spring, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) comes out with a revised Solid-State Lighting R&D Multi-Year Program Plan (MYPP), and the 2012 version is now posted online at the EERE website. The MYPP guides core technology research and product development in DOE’s SSL R&D program. MYPP’s influence extends well beyond the halls of government, as many of its figures, graphs and projections are widely used throughout the industry.