A year of transition
2017 was a year of transition, or rather several transitions. First of all, an interim General Management was put in place to lead the Group. Second of all, we had to find the right person for the job of Chief Executive Officer. And last of all, we set ourselves a new course once again, transforming the Group’s organizational structure and getting it up and running.
Building our strategy together
I joined Sonepar in September 2017 after thirty years of international management experience in industry, which reflected my dual background—an MBA and an engineering degree. I spent the first few months discovering the company, traveling from country to country and meeting the people. What sticks in my mind is the image of a Group that is proud of its history, rapid growth and global leadership; a Group that has succeeded in outdistancing the competition and achieving a widely envied level of performance; a Group that had a highly encouraging year in 2017 and that has continued to put a lot of energy into meeting its goals.
Strong growth in 2017
2017 was an excellent year for Sonepar. Our sales rose 4.8% over the previous year to €21.6 billion. That result was mildly impacted by currency effects—mainly depreciation of the dollar against the euro—and by the fact that 2016 was a leap year, and thus had a day more than usual. The acquisitions we carried out, above all in Italy and Belgium, accounted for 1.7 of the 4.8 percentage points we gained.
Our solid growth will help us tackle the challenges facing us in 2018
- Philippe Delpech
- In 2017, the Group delivered solid results thanks to its historical strengths: global footprint coupled with strong local presence, an outstanding customer service culture, innovative multichannel distribution coverage, as well as the passion for continuous improvement shown by our great 44,500 associates. We must build on all those assets to continue to adapt to a highly competitive environment that is changing rapidly. Sonepar needs to accelerate its digital transformation and deliver much greater synergy by leveraging its size so that we can become a more efficient company and increase our global leadership.
- Dave Gabriel
- As we continued to leverage our size and scale with investments across the Group, 2017 was significant in building density in two specific areas. In Italy, Sacchi a family owned company joined the Group mid-year. With a strong position in Northern Italy and a focus on the industrial market, Sacchi brings our network an additional 68 branches. In Belgium, Cheyns joined the Group, building on our industrial offering and density in the market and further strengthening our capabilities for our customers. In Northern Europe solid execution in Germany, Austria, Finland, and the Netherlands drove organic growth and accelerating profits.