News & Analysis

Distrelec celebrates 50 years of operations

5th June 2023
Kristian McCann

Distrelec is celebrating half a century of operations. Emanating from a company with humble origins in Switzerland, Distrelec has expanded into a cross-continent enterprise with over 400 employees.

In recent years, this impressive growth has stemmed from continuous innovation in the company's online offer and an ever-expanding product range to help meet customer demands for technical components, automation, measurement technology, IT and accessories.

The story began in Switzerland in 1973, the year in which the first mobile phone call took place. Just five years later, Distrelec had seen sufficient growth to attract the interest of a buyer, Datwyler, a strategic engineering partner for innovative systems in multiple global markets. With new investment, Distrelec built a solid and expanding footprint, entering the Italian market in 1993, for example.

In 2001 Distrelec entered the German market after the acquisition of Schuricht, entering further markets such as Romania and Sweden later the same decade. By 2008, Elfa had become part of Distrelec (Elfa Distrelec). A year on, Distrelec purchased Nordic Power to achieve synergies in Norway and Sweden.

Early the following decade, the centralising of warehouse operations began, while in 2012 Distrelec acquired Display Electronika, becoming active as Distrelec in the Netherlands and Belgium. Just two years later, Distrelec launched a new web platform and ERP system.

2016 was a big year: Distrelec unveiled its own RND brand, offering great quality at low prices. Around 12 months downstream, Distrelec opened its Manchester Enterprise Hub, home to the RND team, offering UK expansion possibilities and further improving the company's sourcing process and product offer.

The Distrelec KnowHow hub launched in 2019, hosting a variety of educational, technical and information articles on the latest industry trends. In 2020, following 42 years of ownership and impressive growth, Datwyler completed the sale of Distrelec to global investment company Aurelius Equity Opportunities. The acquisition trend continued, however, with Distrelec buying Display Electronics to become active as Distrelec in France.

The 50th anniversary celebrations will continue throughout the remainder of 2023, marked notably by the company's not-to-be-missed '50-Year Sale' in July. Customers can sign up here for first access.

Distrelec now looks forward to the next 50 years. Thus far, clear alignment to the requirements of customers has underpinned the company's success, an ethos that will remain in the years ahead. Responding to customer needs, a clear service orientation and ongoing optimisation of customer support continue to represent the fundamental pillars of Distrelec.

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