When it comes to getting wired, Anixter International's got the connections. The company is a distributor of communication products used to connect voice, video, data, and security systems. It sells 450,000-plus products, including electrical and electronic wire, cable, fasteners, and security system components, to some 100,000 customers in a host of industries. Anixter operates primarily through several special sales forces -- Electric and Electronic Wire and Cable, Enterprise Cabling and Security Solutions, and Fasteners -- operating from about 300 warehouses and sales centers in 50 countries. Although Anixter gets its products from thousands of suppliers, almost one-third come from just five companies.
Anixter operates through a network of warehouses and sales offices consisting of 155 locations in the US, more than 15 in Canada, 30 in the UK and 35 throughout the rest of Europe, 30 in Latin America, almost 20 in Asia, and 5 spanning Australia and New Zealand.
Sales & Marketing
More than two dozen industries are represented among Anixter customers -- markets such as education, government, health care, manufacturing, retail, and transportation. Anixter also serves contractors and integrators who install and maintain communications networks and data centers. International, national, regional, and local OEMs number among Anixter's customers as well, procuring wire, cable, fasteners, and other small components to help finish the manufacturing of their own products, typically with short lead times.
Anixter's massive distribution capacity is central to delivering goods whenever and wherever its customers demand. In addition to turn-on-a-dime delivery, the company's reach has cultivated a broad customer base; no one customer accounts for more than 2% of sales. Not content, however, to rest on its distribution might, Anixter moves beyond solely aggregating and marketing products to offering a slate of inventory management services for customers, as well as testing facilities for its suppliers.
The company has enjoyed steady growth over the last three years. From 2010 to 2011 its revenues increased by almost 17% while its profits skyrocketed by 73%. The spike in total sales was due to favorable foreign exchange rates and higher revenue generated from Clark Security Products, a previous acquisition.
It also enjoyed a rise in demand for its products across North America, Latin America, and the Asia/Pacific. Total sales increased in Europe due to higher sales in the OEM Supply end sector and growth in the Enterprise Cabling and Security end market. Anixter derives more than 40% of its revenue from outside the US.
The company's operations are driven organically through both product and service expansions. At the same time, Anixter doesn't hesitate to go after niche acquisition opportunities that promise to expand its technical expertise and geographic reach. For example, in mid-2012 it purchased Jorvex S.A., a distributor of electrical wire, cable, and fasteners based in Lima, Peru. In late 2010 it paid $36.4 million in cash for the operations of San Diego-based security products distributor Clark Security Products and the assets and operations of General Lock.
In addition to South America, Anixter is looking to extend its reach in the Middle East. It entered a partnership in early 2012 with Mohawarean Trading Company to form Anixter Saudi Arabia Limited. The new entity will allow Anixter to distribute its electrical products throughout Saudi Arabia and other regions.
Focusing on its core operations, Anixter in 2011 sold its Aerospace Hardware division to Greenbriar Equity for about $155 million. Customer and supplier consolidation and increasing demands for capital have caused the division to become a poor fit for Anixter.
Billionaire financier Samuel Zell, Anixter's chairman since 1985, holds 15% of Anixter through various family trusts. – less