Genuine Parts Company (NYSE: GPC)
|2999 Circle 75 Pkwy.||Phone: 770-953-1700|
|Atlanta, GA||Fax: 770-956-2211|
|United States||Map This Company|
|http://www.genpt.com||Hoover's coverage by Alexandra Biesada|
Genuine Parts Company (GPC) got its start in Atlanta in 1928 when Carlyle Fraser bought a small auto parts store. That year GPC had the only loss in its history. Three years earlier a group that included Fraser had founded the National Automotive Parts Association (NAPA), an organization of automotive manufacturers, remanufacturers, distributors, and retailers.
The Depression was a boon for GPC because fewer new-car sales meant more sales of replacement parts. During the 1930s GPC's sales rose from less than $350,000 to more than $3 million. One tool it developed to spur sales during the Depression was its monthly magazine, Parts Pups, which featured pretty girls and corny jokes (discontinued in the 1990s). GPC acquired auto parts rebuilder Rayloc in 1931 and established parts distributor Balkamp in 1936.
WWII boosted sales at GPC because carmakers were producing for the war effort, but scarce resources limited auto parts companies to producing functional parts. GPC went public in 1948.
The postwar boom in car sales boosted GPC's sales in the 1950s and 1960s. It expanded during this period with new distribution centers across the country. GPC bought Colyear Motor Sales (NAPA's West Coast distributor) in 1965 and introduced a line of filters and batteries in 1966 that were the first parts to carry the NAPA name.
GPC moved into Canada in 1972 when it bought Corbetts, a Calgary-based parts distributor. That acquisition included Oliver Industrial Supply. During the mid-1970s GPC began to broaden its distribution businesses, adding S.P. Richards (office products, 1975) and Motion Industries (industrial replacement parts, 1976). In the late 1970s GPC acquired Bearing Specialty and Michigan Bearing as part of Motion Industries.
In 1982 the company introduced its now familiar blue-and-yellow NAPA logo. Canadian parts distributor UAP (formerly United Auto Parts) and GPC formed a joint venture, UAP/NAPA, in 1988, with GPC acquiring a 20% stake in UAP.
During the 1990s GPC diversified its product lines and its geographic reach. Its 1993 acquisition of Berry Bearing made the company a leading distributor of industrial parts. The next year GPC formed a joint venture with Grupo Auto Todo of Mexico.
NAPA formed an agreement in 1995 with Penske Corporation to be the exclusive supplier of auto parts to nearly 900 Penske Auto Centers. GPC purchased Horizon USA Data Supplies that year, adding computer supplies to S.P. Richards' product mix.
A string of acquisitions in the late 1990s increased GPC's industrial distribution business (including Midcap Bearing, Power Drives & Bearings, and Amarillo Bearing).
GPC paid $200 million in 1998 for EIS, a leading wholesale distributor of materials and supplies to the electrical and electronics industries. Late in 1998, after a 10-year joint venture, it bought the remaining 80% of UAP it didn't already own. GPC continued to expand its auto parts distribution network in 1999, acquiring Johnson Industries, an independent distributor of auto supplies for large fleets and car dealers. GPC also acquired Oklahoma City-based Brittain Brothers, a NAPA distributor that serves about 190 auto supply stores in Arkansas, Missouri, Oklahoma, and Texas.
In 2000 the company bought a 15% interest in Mitchell Repair Information (MRIC), a subsidiary of Snap-on Incorporated that provides diagnostic and repair information services. The next year Johnson Industries acquired Coach and Motors, a distribution center in Detroit.
GPC acquired NAPA Hawaii, which serves more than 30 independently owned NAPA stores and four company-owned ones in Hawaii and Samoa, in 2003. Also that year the company sold its interest in the partnership that distributes industrial parts in Mexico, Refacciones Industriales de México.
President Thomas Gallagher became the company's fourth CEO in more than 75 years when he was named to the position in August 2004. Former CEO Larry Prince remained as chairman until early in 2005 when Gallagher was elected chairman; Prince remains on the board. Also during 2005 the company acquired a 25% interest in Altrom Canada Corp.
GPC subsidiary Motion Industries in mid-2006 acquired Lewis Supply Co., a provider of casters, cutting tools, machinery accessories and other general mill supplies. In October the company merged HorizonUSA Data Supplies, previously a wholly owned subsidiary of S.P. Richards, into S.P. Richards.
In early 2008 the company sold its Johnson Industries subsidiary, which provided automotive supplies to fleets and new car dealers. In October GPC's S.P. Richards unit acquired ActionEmco's business assets in the midwestern US, including its Grand Rapids, Michigan, distribution center. Also that year Motion Industries acquired Texas-based Drago Supply Company, Mill Supply Corp., and Monroe Rubber and Plastic Supply.
In 2009 GPC added eight companies to its industrial and automotive operations for about $70 million and snapped up the remaining 11% interest in Balkamp that it did not already control for some $60 million, making it a wholly owned subsidiary. These deals compare to a broader acquisition strategy in 2008, which added a dozen companies to all four of GPC's business segments (automotive, industrial, office products, and electrical and electronic) for nearly $135 million.
Also, in 2010 it acquired Canada's BC Bearing, a distributor of bearing and power transmission components.