Our history has been shaped by the long-range vision of our shareholders and executives. We have achieved lasting growth by meeting our customers’ needs—for strong relationships, innovative services, assistance abroad and more. We are only as successful as our people are. Day after day, their ideas and their drive are what sets us apart.

Sonepar is an independent family-owned French company that today it is a global market leader in electrical products and B2B distribution of related services.

With 45,000 employees, an annual turnover of € 23 billion, 100 operational companies and 2,800 branches , it is present in 40 countries.

Foundation of Sonepar

Today’s Sonepar has come a long way, but the group’s spirit of initiative was constant throughout. The story dates back to 1867 to when the Coisne and Lambert families set up their businesses in the textile industry, and it has been active for almost 100 years.

The two families carried the company from generation to generation. The turning point followed in the 1960s. 11 Coisne and Lambert family members set up a company called Société de Négoce et de Participation (Sonepar), which was intended to manage a number of others outside the textile industry area and related investments in which the company worked with. A few years later, Henri Coisne realized that the there are great opportunities in the electricity market. In 1968 received authorization to expand the company, so in 1969 the aquisition of a French company called Comptoir d’Électricité Franco-Belge, Sonepar entered the electricity market.

International expansion

Thanks to successive acquisitions, Sonepar has began to develop in France. The company’s  special family ownership and special corporate culture helped to stand out from French and later European and then international competitors.

This solid foundation has been steadily strengthening over the decades and even today.

A global market leader from France

In 1977, Sonepar’s 1,275 employees achieved full coverage in France. During this period, the company has 57 branches and it had 50,000 customers. In 1982, internationalization has began.  

Expand in Europe: Germany, the Netherlands, and later bought in Spain, Italy, and Belgium up companies. In 1998, with the acquisition of NorthEast Electrical Distributors the company also began operations in the US. It was also the year when the founder’s daughter Marie-Christine Coisne-Roquette became the Sonepar Group President. Over the next 10 years, Sonepar has grown and strengthened presence year after year on all continents (Great Britain, India, Colombia, Peru, Thailand, New Zealand). For new acquisitions as well as for sustainable development thanks to this, the United States has become the Group's largest market.

In 2020, Sonepar is one of the most significant players in the industry. The company celebrated its 50th birthday last year.