Around the Industry - June 8, 2012

June 7, 2012
IMARK joins international group; LEED 2012 delayed; Belden buys broadcast products maker; Eaton buys in Sweden; ABB buys broadband mfr; DOE extends T8 phaseout deadline

IMARK joins IMELCO’s global consortium of buying groups

IMARK Group, Bowie, Md., has joined IMELCO, a 20-year-old consortium of 12 buying/marketing groups from 16 European countries and Australia that in 2011 had combined sales of an estimated $8.4 billion. IMELCO’s member associations include the United Kingdom’s Associated National Electrical Wholesalers, which according to its web-site,, has 37 members with 300 branches and GEMCELL, an Australian buying/marketing group with 34 members operating 258 locations. According to information on IMELCO’s web-site, Associated National Electrical Wholesalers accounts for an estimated $853 million in sales and GEMCELL’s members combined do an estimated $754 million in sales.

IMARK has 900 independently owned electrical distributor members operating more than 2,000 branches. IMARK estimates that its members hold an 18% share of the U.S. electrical distribution market.

In a press release announcing IMARK’s decision to join IMELCO, Bob Smith, IMARK president and CEO, said, “Given the increasing rate of industry globalization, we are confident that our group’s membership in this organization will benefit IMARK members in the years to come. We anticipate that IMARK Group’s membership of IMELCO will result in enhanced member profitability, expanded networking opportunities as well as the chance to share best practices with leading independent electrical distributors from all over the world.”

LEED 2012 delayed until 2013

The U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC), purveyor of the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) green-building certification scheme, has decided to delay implementation of its long awaited 2012 revision to the LEED standards until mid-2013. To avoid confusion, the revised standard will be named LEED v4. Rick Fedrizzi, president, CEO and chairman of USGBC, said the public comment period showed stakeholders are especially concerned about proposed “infrastructure” changes — the forms, documentation, training and online support systems for processing LEED certifications — and that those upgrades will continue through a possible ballot in June 2013.

Belden buys Miranda Technologies

Belden Inc., St. Louis, plans to make an all-cash offer to acquire Miranda Technologies Inc., Montreal, a provider of hardware and software solutions for the broadcast infrastructure industry. Miranda provides solutions for TV broadcasters and content developers to create, manipulate, and distribute high-definition video, including production, playout and delivery.

John Stroup, president and CEO of Belden, said in a press release that the acquisition would help make Belden and Miranda a leader in the broadcast market for networking, connectivity and cable solutions. When the deal is completed, the percentage of Belden’s revenue from networking and connectivity products will rise from 30% to 36%.

Eaton acquisition in Sweden opens doors in Scandinavia

Eaton Corp., Cleveland, has acquired Gycom’s electrical low-voltage power distribution, control and automation components business in Sweden, Denmark and Finland. The transaction will enable Eaton to serve Gycom’s customers with Eaton’s power distribution products and services. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Frank Campbell, Eaton president, Europe, Middle East and Africa Region for the Electrical Sector, said in a press release, “Gycom has established strong relationships with key customers in the region. This acquisition is an effective way to expand our presence in the Nordic region.”

Based in Taby, Stockholm County, Sweden, Gycom’s low-voltage power distribution, control and automation business had 2011 sales of approximately $24 million.

ABB to acquire Tropos Networks

ABB, Zurich, Switzerland, has agreed to acquire Tropos Networks Inc., a Silicon Valley-based company that develops and markets wireless technologies and products for distribution area communication networks. The acquisition will expand ABB’s communications systems offering for customers in the power, transportation, mining and public infrastructure sectors.

Based in Sunnyvale, Calif., Tropos employs 55 people. The company’s wireless IP (Internet Protocol) broadband solutions focus on reliability, security and scalability, key characteristics for essential services in smart grid and other outdoor industrial applications. The Tropos portfolio extends ABB’s existing offering of communications solutions for the power distribution sector. It also reinforces ABB’s increased focus on the North American market and complements its global presence in utility and industrial communications.

ABB said in a press release that as power grids and other critical infrastructure become increasingly reliant on automation, demand for cost-effective, reliable and secure communication solutions is growing. Communications play a critical role in realizing the efficiency improvements that can be achieved by automation and improved resource allocation.

DOE grants extension on some T-8 lamps due to rare-earth supplies

Responding to three individually filed exception requests, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) in May postponed by two years — to July 14, 2014 — the “phase-out” date for 700-series T-8 general-service fluorescent lamps manufactured by GE Lighting, Osram Sylvania and Philips Lighting. Only companies that have been excepted by DOE may continue to manufacture or import these T-8 lamps beyond that date. The lamps involved are the 4-foot medium bi-pin, 2-foot U-shaped, 8-foot slimline, and 8-foot high-output 700-series T-8s.

A statement by the National Lighting Bureau, Silver Spring, Md., said DOE’s Office of Hearings and Appeals (OHA) granted the extensions to GE, Osram and Philips because of “the growing scarcity and escalating cost of the rare-earth oxides used to manufacture the phosphors intrinsic to the proper functioning of fluorescent lamps.” These rare-earth oxides, including terbium and europium, are used more heavily by lamps such as 800-series T8s that would be logical replacements for the 700-series lamps to be phased out.

The supply disruptions, which were not foreseen during the DOE Lamp Rulemaking of 2009, stem from manufacturing and export regulations subsequently instituted by China. According to the DOE OHA ruling, China now controls approximately 97% of the worldwide supply of rare earth elements and rare earth oxides, and its policies have drastically reduced the resources available to U.S. lighting manufacturers.