MSC Industrial to buy ATS Industrial Supply distributor

SALT LAKE CITY ― Industrial distributor MSC Industrial Direct Co. Inc. said it bought privately held ATS Industrial Supply for an undisclosed sum to expand its presence in the United States.

The deal, which is expected to close on Jan. 31, would reduce MSC Industrial’s earnings by about 1 cent to 2 cents in fiscal 2012, but add about 2 cents to 3 cents a share in fiscal 2013.

Utah-based ATS Industrial is a metalworking and MRO (maintenance, repair, and operations) industrial distributor in the Rocky Mountain region. It posted 2011 sales of about $34.5 million.

U.S. industrial distributors have propped up their acquisition drive to expand their product range and take advantage of the market slowdown.

Competition in this North American market is not price-driven, but more about the ability to source and deliver products through multiple sales channels. This makes acquisitions significant.

Shares of MSC Industrial closed at $76.37 on Monday on the New York Stock Exchange.