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Legrand’s sales increased 5.1% in 2012; company actively seeking acquisitions

Legrand SA, the manufacturer of switches, plugs, lighting devices and other electrical products, is reporting sales of $74.5 billion for 2012, an increase of 5.1% over 2011. At the same time, Legrand, the world’s largest manufacturer of wiring devices, said it will spend hundreds of millions of dollars in acquisitions through 2015.

Of its sales increase for 2012, acquisitions were responsible for 4.5% of the total, company officials said in releasing its earnings report. The company also announced it had purchased Seico, a Saudi leader in industrial metal cable trays.

Organic growth sales were -1.4%.

Legrand said it introduced a number of new products in new economies as well as in the United States and other mature countries.

During 2012, Legrand acquired four companies.

New business segments represented 25% of sales in 2012 compared with 22% in 2011.

Legrand’s debt fell 15% last year to 1.08 billion Euros ($1.45 billion) as net income climbed 5.6% to 505.6 million Euros, Legrand, based in Limoges, France, said in a statement today.

But acquisitions continue to be an important source of growth for the French-based company.

“Our balance sheet allows us to fund this external growth without any difficulty, and without affecting at all our financial structure,” CEO Gilles Schnepp said on a conference call with journalists, according to a report on “We’re still very much willing to reinforce the group’s positions through external growth. We’re favoring companies with leadership positions.”

Legrand forecasts organic growth in sales this year to be between a 2% drop and a 2% gain amid a “solid pickup” in U.S. residential construction, European economic woes, and uncertainty about when emerging markets growth will accelerate further, Schnepp said. Legrand’s exposure to new home sales accounts for “a bit more” than 20% of revenue, the CEO said, according to Bloomberg.

Legrand said sales in the U.S. and Canada were buoyed by strong showings in wiring devices, cable management and home systems, sales rose 5.3%. The residential market, which had declined for five years in a row and remains well below historic levels, confirmed its recovery during the year and should continue to underpin group business in the United States. Non-residential activity remained flat. By the end of 2012, the United States became the second-largest contributor to group sales.

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