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Wesco acquires 3rd Canadian company in 18 months

| Friday, Dec. 20, 2013, 11:06 a.m.

Wesco International Inc., a South Side-based distributor of electrical products, is bulking up in Canada.

The company on Friday announced its fourth acquisition of a Canadian electrical-equipment supplier. The move to buy Newmarket, Ontario-based LaPrairie Inc. also marks the company's fifth acquisition in a little over two years.

Wesco did not disclose the price it will pay for LaPrairie, but said the company has $30 million in annual revenue and will add 3 cents to Wesco's per-share earnings next year.

The deal will increase Wesco's exposure to the growing Canadian utility industry, said Dan Brailer, vice president of investor relations and corporate affairs.

Wesco had a strong presence in western Canada, and LaPrairie, a wholesale distributor, serves the transmission, distribution, and substation needs for utilities across Ontario, Quebec, and the Atlantic region of Canada, Brailer said.

“We view that market very favorably over the long term,” he said. “It's an energy-driven market. ... Those markets use a lot electrical products.”

Starting in October 2011 with the acquisition of Calgary, Alberta-based Brews Supply Ltd., Wesco has steadily expanded in Canada from the No. 3 largest electrical distributor, Brailer said. It claimed the top spot after its December 2012, $1.2 billion purchase of Calgary-based Eecol Electric Corp.

In between those deals it picked up Trydor Industries Ltd. of British Columbia and Conney Safety Products of Madison, Wis.

“There's lots of infrastructure investment to be made in Canada in coming years,” Brailer said.

Wesco traded lower on Wall Street on Friday, closing down.

Alex Nixon is a Trib Total Media staff writer. Reach him at 412-320-7928 or anixon@tribweb.com.

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