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Not to be confused with the office supplies brand of the same name, which is owned by ACCO Brands.
Type Public
Traded as EuronextRXL
Industry Distribution of electrical supplies
Founded 1967 (under the name CDME: Compagnie de Distribution de Matériel Electrique)
Headquarters Paris, France
Area served Worldwide
Key people Rudy Provoost chairman and CEO
Revenue €13.01 billion (2013)
Net income €211 million (2013)
Owner(s) Ray Investment (Clayton, Dubilier & Rice, Eurazeo and BAML Capital Partners)
Employees 31,000 (2012)

Rexel is a French group founded in 1967, that specializes in the distribution of electrical supplies to professional users. It distributes products and services in the areas of automation, technical supply and energy management. The offerings cover a wide range, including lighting, security, automation, climate control, communication, building automation and renewable energies. The group has 2,300 sales outlets (branches) in 37 countries and 31,000 employees. The company positions itself as a leader in its market.[1]


1967-90 — Creation: CDME, from French to international[edit]

The Rexel group originated from the Compagnie de Distribution de Matériel Electrique (CDME), created in 1967 by Compagnie LEBON. CDME was created by the merger of four companies (Revimex, Facen, Sotel and Lienard-Soval). Specialised in the sale of electrical supplies, the company developed in France by acquiring family-run regional companies. In 1978, CDME launched a branch for the distribution of professional electronic and computing equipment, and diversified into the industrial supplies trade.

From the 1980s, CDME developed in European and international markets, establishing a presence in Cyprus, Saudi Arabia, Portugal, Benelux, the Federal Republic of Germany, Singapore, and Canada.

In 1983, CDME entered the unlisted securities market of the Paris stock exchange. It was at that time that it became the leading distributor of electrical supplies in France with more than 20 percent of the domestic market and a 6-percent share worldwide. In 1986, the company established a presence in the United States. At that time, it had around 350 sales outlets, including 65 abroad. In 1987, the Compagnie Française de l'Afrique Occidentale (CFAO) became CDME’s largest shareholder (68 percent).

1990-2005: the construction of the Rexel Group[edit]

Pinault Group acquired a majority stake in CDME in December 1990; CDME was then the biggest distributor of electrical supplies (30 percent market share) in France, Belgium and Portugal; this new subsidiary represented 38 percent of the Pinault Group revenue. In June 1993, CDME merged with Groupelec Distribution (third on the French market). The group adopted the Rexel name.

In the 1990s, the group refocused its business on the distribution of electrical supplies selling most of its professional electrical distribution business in 1988 and in 1994 its subsidiary GDFI, the leading French distributor of industrial supplies.

Gradually, the Group’s subsidiaries undertook the brand name: Willcox & Gibbs in the United States became Rexel Inc. in 1995, Rexel Italia was created in 2000 from the merger of 10 Italian subsidiaries, and the first joint venture was created in China under the Rexel Hailongxing name.

In 2001, Rexel generated 75 percent of its revenues abroad. At the time, the Group had acquired a preeminent role in its sector with 1,900 sales outlets and 25,000 employees in 33 countries, and it was actively pursuing its acquisitions policy.

2005-11: worldwide development[edit]

The PPR Group (Pinault-Printemps-Redoute) announced the sale of Rexel,[2] which became definitive on March 16, 2005 when a capital stake was acquired by a consortium made up of Clayton, Dubilier & Rice, Eurazeo, and Merril Lynch Global Private Equity.[3] Rexel delisted from Paris stock exchange on April 25, 2005.

In 2006, in addition to the 29 small and medium acquisitions made during this period, in 2006 the group bought General Electric’s American distribution subsidiary, GE Supply, which it renamed Gexpro,[4] becoming the sector's largest company in North America and Asia Pacific. Gexpro reinforced the group’s service business among industrial key accounts. In 2007, Rexel launched a joint takeover bid with the Sonepar Group for the Hagemeyer Group, which was the global number three at the time. In March 2008, it acquired a majority stake in Hagemeyer’s European assets (Elektroskandia in the Nordics, ABM in Spain and Newey & Eyre in the United Kingdom).[5] Following this acquisition, the group doubled its revenues in Europe, increased its sales outlets in the region by 50 percent, and established a presence in five new countries (Finland, Norway, and the Baltic Countries).

In 2007, Rexel changed its structure and became a limited liability company with a management board and a supervisory board (“société anonyme à directoire et conseil de surveillance”). The company was floated on Euronext Paris on April 4, 2007.[6] In 2008, the group's share of the global market for distributed professional electrical supplies stood at approximately 9 percent; it had 2,500 sales outlets across 34 countries

In 2011, the company undertook new acquisitions in emerging markets. It acquired Lucky Well Zhineng in China,[7] Nortel Suprimentos Industriais in Brazil [8] and Yantra Automation in India.[8]

2012: new company plan “Energy in Motion[edit]

In early 2012, the group acquired the companies Delamano and Etil,[9] becoming a leader in the Brazilian market.[10] It also expanded its presence in the U.S. with the strategic acquisition of Platt Electric Supply.[11]

Year 2012 also marks the appointment of Rudy Provoost as Chairman of the Management Board and CEO, succeeding Jean-Charles Pauze.[12] In May, the company unveiled its 2015 ambitions and presented its "Energy in Motion" company plan.[13]

2014: new governance[edit]

In May 2014, Rexel moves to a new one-tier governance structure with Board of Directors.[14]


Rexel provides the entire range of equipment necessary for installing and using electricity, mainly in residential, commercial and industrial buildings. The Group also supports projects for major industrial infrastructures (mines, oil rigs, etc.)

Over the last few years, Rexel has developed low-energy solutions (lighting and high-performance motors), as well as products using renewable energies, solar and wind power, geothermal and aerothermal energy (heat pumps, solar water heaters and climate control solutions).

Lines of business[edit]

Design and distribution of electrical solutions[edit]

Rexel designs, advises and markets electrical solutions based on major manufacturers’ offerings (50 percent of its revenues come from 25 main manufacturers). The company carries out its distribution business through generalist and specialist outlets as well as e-commerce systems. Rexel relies on 130 logistical centers worldwide for its sales outlets and clients.[15]


In 2011, 69% of its clients were electrical installation engineers (from individual contractors to companies): 22% manufacturers, component manufacturers and panel builders, 7% retailers and housing/transport infrastructures, and 11% local authorities, public bodies, resellers and DIY superstores.


The Group’s company plan, Energy in Motion, launched in 2012, is based on four strategic priorities:[16]

  • Profitable growth: accelerate profitable growth both organically and through acquisitions,
  • Active resources management: optimize asset utilization and allocation of resources for increasing returns,
  • Culture of cooperation: leverage capabilities and synergies across the Group and stimulate value-added partnerships with key suppliers and customers,
  • Excellence in operations: enhance productivity and service levels to drive commercial effectiveness and supply chain performance.


The Rexel Group has a sales network of around 40 brands, the largest of which are Rexel, Platt Electric Supply,[17] Gexpro, Hagemeyer and Elektroskandia.

Rexel, the Group’s main brand, is present in 12 countries: Australia, Belgium, Chile, China, the Czech Republic, France, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Portugal, and the United States.

The Hagemeyer brand is present in three countries: Australia, Germany, and the Netherlands.

Originally Norwegian, the Elektroskandia brand is present in Northern and Eastern Europe (Estonia, Finland, Latvia, Lithuania, Norway, Poland and Russia).

The Group also has around 40 generalist and specialist brands in North America, Latin America, Europe, and Asia Pacific.

Corporate governance[edit]

Since 2014, the Rexel Group has operated as a limited liability company with a Board of Directors (“société anonyme à conseil d'administration”).

Board of Directors[edit]

The Doard of Directors comprises four specialized committees: the Audit and Risks Committee, the Compensation Committee, the Nomination Committee, the Strategic Committee.[18]

It comprizes 10 members, including 80% independent members and 4 women.[19]

  • Rudy Provoost : Chairman and CEO
  • François Henrot : Deputy-Chairman and Senior Independent Director, Chairman of the Nomination Committee
  • Patrick Sayer (Eurazeo) : Chairman of the Compensation Committee
  • Pier Luigi Sigismondi* : Chairman of the Strategic Committee
  • Fritz Fröhlich* : Chairman of the Audit and Risks Committee
  • Thomas Farrell*
  • Roberto Quarta*
  • Monika Ribar*
  • Vivianne Akriche*
  • Hendrika Verhagen*

-* independent members

Executive committee[edit]

The executive team manages the group’s business activities. It is composed of :

  • Rudy Provoost
  • Catherine Guillouard
  • Pascal Martin
  • Sharon MacBeath
  • Pascale Giet
  • Peter Hakanson
  • Patrick Berard
  • Henri-Paul Laschkar
  • Michel Klein
  • Chris Hartmann
  • Mitch Williams
  • Jeff Hall

Previous presidents[edit]

  • Jean-Charles Pauze (2002–2012)
  • Alain Redheuil (1996–2002)
  • Serge Weinberg (1990–96)
  • Bernard Clerc (1973–90)

Key figures[edit]

Financial data[1][edit]

Rexel group’s revenues at December 31, 2011 were 12.7 billion euros. Geographically, Europe had a 59 percent share, North America 29 percent, Asia Pacific 10 percent, Latin America and other countries 2 percent. By sector,the service sector represented 44 percent residential sector 23 percent and industrial sector 33 percent. In 2011, the Group’s operating income was 319 million euros.[20]

Stock market information[edit]

Rexel was listed on the Paris stock exchange for the first time in 1983 (ISIN code: FR0010451203). The Group was then acquired in 1990 by the Pinault Group. On December 13, 2004, the PPR Group signed off on the sale of its subsidiary Rexel to the investment consortium Ray Investment, composed mainly of Clayton Dubilier & Rice, Eurazeo and Merrill Lynch Global Private Equity (as known as BAML Capital Partners since 2009).[21]

The Rexel Group withdrew from the Paris stock exchange in 2005 and re-entered it in 2007.[22]

On June 31, 2012, the company’s shareholding was broken down as follows:[23]

  • Ray investment sarl: 16.5 percent
  • Public: 81 percent
  • Rexel employees: 1.9 percent
  • Treasury shares: 0.7 percent

Rexel is included in several share indexes: SBF 120, CAC Mid 100, CAC All-Trade, CAC AllShares, FTSE EuroMid, FTSE4Goo, STOXX600, STOXX Europe Sustainability, EURO STOXX Sustainability, Dow Jones Sustainability Index and Euronext Vigeo Europe 120. Rexel is also included on the Ethibel EXCELLENCE Investment Registers in recognition of its performance in corporate social responsibility (CSR) [24]

Extra-financial information[edit]

The Rexel Group has 40 brands in a network of 2,100 branches in 37 countries. The company has 28,000 employees, including 23.6% women. In 2009, 59 percent of Rexel group branches participated in recycling the waste from electrical and electronic equipment.[25]

Social and environmental responsibility[edit]

Rexel has joined the United Nations Global Compact,[26][27]

In 2008, Rexel Canada launched the “Hungry for Change” campaign to raise funds for child victims of malnutrition worldwide. In 2009, the group’s Australian subsidiary participated in volunteer first-aid work led by the local Red Cross during the Black Saturday bushfires.[28]

Since February 2012, in a partnership with Ashoka, Rexel sponsors social entrepreneurs whose activity relates to the energy.[29]

For employees, the Group’s social welfare initiatives received a trophy for “international corporate social responsibility” on December 15, 2010. This trophy was awarded for the Group’s “Rexel + Protection For All”[30] universal welfare scheme, which guarantees a minimum level of social protection against occupational hazards (work accidents and occupational illnesses) in countries where the compulsory regime falls below the standards defined by the Group.[31]

The Rexel Group has initiated a number of actions to reduce the impact of its business on the environment. Since 2009, 93 percent of its European branches collect end-of-life electrical equipment from their clients (cables, light bulbs and fluorescent tubes). Many branches also implement selective waste disposal (for cardboard, plastic and wood) for recycling or reuse. In addition, Rexel modified its shipping practices in many countries in 2009 to reduce the number of vehicles and their fuel consumption. More recently, the company carried out its first carbon report for 2010.[32]

Rexel launched in May 2013 the Rexel Foundation for a better energy future, which was created under the aegis of the Fondation de France. Its mission is to improve access to energy efficiency for all based on three key pillars: to improve understanding and raise awareness of energy efficiency, to encourage innovation through research programs and educational projects and to support charitable community-based projects. The Foundation consists of eight members, including three independent experts, Jana Revedin, an architect PhD who holds the Professorship of Architecture and Design at Blekinge Institute of Technology in Sweden, Peter Bonfield, a materials engineer with a PhD in wind energy and the design of turbine blades and Chief Executive of the BRE Group and Ernst Worrell, a Professor of Energy, Resources & Technological Change at Utrecht University recognized for his research for the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, which won the Nobel Peace Prize in 2007.[33]


  1. ^ a b
  2. ^
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  4. ^
  5. ^
  6. ^
  7. ^ [1]
  8. ^ a b [2]
  9. ^
  10. ^
  11. ^
  12. ^
  13. ^
  14. ^ "Rudy Provoost is named Chairman and CEO - Catherine Guillouard is named Deputy CEO". 2014-05-23. Retrieved 2014-05-28. 
  15. ^
  16. ^
  17. ^
  18. ^ "Board of Directors Committees". Retrieved 2014-01-06. 
  19. ^ "Board of Directors Committees". Retrieved 2014-01-06. 
  20. ^
  21. ^
  22. ^
  23. ^
  24. ^
  25. ^
  26. ^ UN Global Compact Participant
  27. ^ UN Global Compact letter of commitment
  28. ^ Rexel sustainable development report – 2009, page 24
  29. ^ (French)List of the Ashoka organisation's partnerships
  30. ^
  31. ^
  32. ^ Rexel sustainable development report – 2009, page 18-19
  33. ^ Rexel foundation

External links[edit]