Routeco was formed in 1978 as a multi-franchise industrial electrical distributor based in Milton Keynes. In those early days the company focused on electrical wholesale products such as lighting, cable and wiring accessories.
In 1980 we were awarded an Allen-Bradley franchise for Milton Keynes and the surrounding area and several years later we were appointed as a Siemens distributor for switchgear and programmable logic controllers. It was during this time that the company changed direction from a general electrical wholesaler to a specialist technical distributor of industrial control and automation products. Success followed very rapidly and we expanded, opening our first sales outlet outside of Milton Keynes in Peterborough in 1989.
In 1990 Peterborough branch became an exclusive distributor for Allen-Bradley products and during the next couple of years further sales outlets were opened in Manchester and Coventry.
In June 1992 we agreed a unique deal with Allen-Bradley to become an exclusive distributor throughout the Routeco organisation. New sales outlets were opened immediately across Southern England and the Midlands.
In 1996 we completed our first acquisition; Control Gear (electrical) Ltd to gain market presence in South Wales and this was quickly followed up by the opening of a new branch in Cardiff. Throughout the remainder of the 90s we continued to expand the business and opened further branches in the Midlands and the North of England.
In 1998 we formed Routeco GmbH based in Linz to serve the Austrian market with industrial control and automation products.
Early 2000 saw a continuation of the branch expansion strategy with a new branch being opened in Glasgow. Our presence in Scotland was further enhanced in 2003 with our second acquisition, Tricon Automation.
Throughout the next 10 years we continued to invest in Product Specialists and Technical Support personnel further enhancing our reputation as the UK’s leading technical distributor of industrial control and automation products.
In 2008 we conducted a strategic review of our sales outlets and established 13 regional centres to service the UK.
In October 2013 Routeco continued its strategic expansion into European markets forming Routeco BV as the preferred Rockwell Automation channel serving the Netherlands market.
In October 2014 Sonepar, the global leader in electrical distribution with operations in 40 countries, completed an agreement to purchase the shares of Routeco Group Holdings Ltd. This acquisition underlines the ongoing efforts of Sonepar to strengthen its global position with entries into new countries as well as into the industrial automation market.
Routeco continues to operate as a separate business unit within Sonepar Northern Europe and the existing management team that has driven the development over the last 25 years remains in charge.