|Traded as||NYSE: WSO
NYSE MKT: WSO.B
|Headquarters||Coconut Grove, Florida, United States|
|Number of locations||573 (12/31/12)|
|Revenue||$3.4 billion (2012)|
Watsco Inc. is the largest distributor of heating, air conditioning, and refrigeration (HVAC/R) products with 505 locations in 36 U.S. states, Puerto Rico, Latin America and the Caribbean. Founded more than 50 years ago as a manufacturer of parts and components for HVAC/R equipment, Watsco entered the distribution segment in 1989 and has become the industry leader with sales of $2.0 billion in 2009. Watsco has 4,000 employees assisting over 50,000 contractors who, in turn, service, repair or replace HVAC/R systems.
Watsco was founded in 1947 as a heating and cooling equipment and door and window parts manufacturer originally known as Wagner Tools. In 1962 Watsco became a publicly listed company, joined the American Stock Exchange in 1968 and later joined the NYSE in 1994.
Chairman, President and CEO Al Nahmad has been with Watsco since 1973 when he acquired a controlling interest in the company. He has led Watsco through three decades of significant growth, beginning with the acquisition of several small manufacturing companies, and then charting the new course of HVAC distribution with the $17 million purchase of Gemaire Distributors Inc., a Florida-based Rheem distributor in 1989. In 1990, Watsco acquired the California Rheem distributor Heating & Cooling Supply Inc., and within five years, purchased two other Rheem distributors, one in Texas and another in North Carolina. Around that time, about three quarters of its business came from HVAC distribution-related sales.
By 1997, Watsco added other OEMs to the mix including Carrier/ICP, NORDYNE, Goodman and American Standard, as well as moving into commercial refrigeration thanks to the acquisition of Baker Distributing. Watsco exited the manufacturing business in 1999 selling it to International Comfort Products Corporation, now part of Carrier Corporation.
Watsco has continued its acquisition strategy in 2000s acquiring a number of other businesses including Pameco (52 locations), East Coast Metal Distributors (27 locations), ACR Group (54 locations) and a few other smaller businesses.
In July 2009, Watsco completed its largest acquisition in company history with the creation of a joint venture with Carrier Corporation, Carrier Enterprise LLC. Watsco owns 60% of the joint venture which operates 110 locations in 20 states and Puerto Rico, the Caribbean and Latin America and serves over 19,000 air conditioning and heating contractors.
In addition to divesting its manufacturing business in 1999, Watsco sold its non-core staffing unit, Dunhill Staffing Systems, Inc., to ATS Group LLC in 2007 to focus solely on distribution of HVAC/R products.
Watsco’s stated goal is to build a network of locations that provide the finest service and product availability for HVAC/R contractors, assisting and supporting them as they serve homeowners and businesses.
Key Business Units
Baker Distributing Co. – Based in Jacksonville, FL, Baker offers a variety of heating, air conditioning, and commercial refrigeration equipment and related parts and supplies from over 250 service centers around the country. Some of Baker’s key HVAC/R brands offered include Comfortmaker, Copeland, Dupont, Frigidaire, Heil, Manitowoc, Tappan, Tempstar, Westinghouse and Whirlpool. www.bakerdist.com.
Carrier Enterprise LLC – Created in July 2009, Carrier Enterprise distributes Carrier, Bryant and Payne brands of HVAC equipment, as well as a full-line of aftermarket parts, supplies, and accessories. It operates from 110 locations throughout 20 states, Puerto Rico, the Caribbean and Latin America. www.carrierenterprise.com
East Coast Metal Distributors – The Durham, NC-based company was founded in 1954 and serves HVAC contractors in the Southeastern US from 36 locations. East Coast sells Goodman and Amana heating and air-conditioning equipment complemented with a complete line of HVAC parts and supplies. East Coast also services the plan and spec community and provides a mix of sheet metal machinery and roll forming equipment. www.ecmdi.com
Gemaire Group – Founded in 1969 and based in Deerfield Beach, FL, Gemaire distributes HVAC equipment, parts and supplies through 90 branches across the Sunbelt. Primary HVAC lines include Rheem, American Standard, Maytag and Frigidaire. www.gemaire.com
ACDoctor.com is an information resource, created by Watsco, for homeowners and building owners looking for information related to heating and air conditioning. The website provides information on energy efficiency, product comparisons and tax and utility credits. www.acdoctor.com
- "UTC Climate, Controls & Security And Watsco To Form Distribution Joint Venture For Canada". United Technologies Corporation. March 14, 2012. Retrieved August 22, 2012.
- Maynard, Michael. “Relationship Building” Hardi HVACR. April, 2007 p.12