In 1885 Alfred Lawrence, as an adventurous junior clerk, became Australian representative for the giant British General Electric Company and was soon to found the electrical company which would bear his name for a century and more. Lawrence had been asked to go to Australia soon after joining the company. The British General Electric Company had asked for a volunteer from among the company’s staff but it seems no-one was keen to travel Down Under. Alfred Lawrence was not exactly press-ganged into taking the post but was told that such an opportunity might only be presented to a man once in a lifetime; he took the job. On arrival, Lawrence tramped the streets of Melbourne taking orders for BGE and relaying them back to London via telegraph but it was arduous work and failed to satisfy his ambition.
In 1886, Lawrence moved to Sydney and opened the doors of ‘Alfred Lawrence, Electrical Merchants, Engineers & Importers’ for trading on 19 November in Wynyard Street. Lawrence had only been in business for little more than a year and was incredulous as the much sought after lighting goods literally came in the back door from the wharves and were carried out the front by willing customers.
Canny Lawrence saw what was about to happen – Sydney was about to run out of lighting. Backing his judgement and using his own capital plus some from close friends, Lawrence cabled a rush order to England for several thousand pounds worth of lighting equipment – lamps, cable and fittings, and by the time it arrived some weeks later, young Alfred virtually held the only substantial stocks of lighting equipment in the city. It was a tremendous windfall and greatly helped establish the business which had struggled.
The year was 1889 and that electric lighting pioneer Sir Henry Parkes was making his first passionate plea for ‘a great national government for all Australia’ during an address at Tenterfield, NSW. A mutual friend, Arthur Cox, introduced Alfred Lawrence to Arthur ‘Jerry’ Hanson, suggesting the two men form a partnership. Both men could immediately see the advantages – Lawrence was both snowed under with work and short of capital to do anything about it. Arthur Hanson brought a much-needed energy and acute accounting and business acumen to complement Lawrence’s practical knowledge of all things electric. That year ‘The Lawrence & Hanson Electrical Company’ went up on the shingle in Wynyard Street for the very first time.
Sonepar is an independent family-owned company with global market leadership in B-to-B distribution of electrical products, solutions and related services. Through a dense network of 100 brands spanning 40 countries, the Group has an ambitious transformation agenda to become the first global B-to-B electrical distributor to provide a fully digitalized and synchronized omnichannel experience to all customers. Drawing on the skill and passion of its 45,000 associates, Sonepar had sales of €26.4 billion in 2021. Sonepar makes its customers’ lives easier, over the counter, visiting customers, by phone or online, – however we’re needed
Sonepar 2021 Key Figures
We led the market:
26.4 billion euros in sales (30% online) – 31st December 2021
Over 40 countries
#1 in 11 countries
1 million order lines per day
With a powerful network:
Over 100 brands
150 distribution centres
For a positive impact:
#1 in sales of energy efficient products
Aligned with 1.5°C target
230 Sustainability initiatives
2021 was a historic year for Sonepar. The Group broke a new record after 2019 and recorded sales of 26.4 billion euros, with 18% autonomous growth.
Sonepar is currently undergoing an ambitious and challenging transformation, serving customers with an omnichannel digital experience, promoting best-in-class sustainability, and ensuring our associates a diverse and inclusive working environment.
2021 was the year of laying the foundations for our digital transformation. Sonepar launched Spark omnichannel platform in four countries and is continuing its global deployment in 2022. With Spark, Sonepar strives to become the first electrical equipment distributor in the world to offer all customers a fully digital and synchronized experience.
In 2021 we also renewed Sonepar’s brand identity and unveiled a new logo. The ellipses – the two, interlocking orbits that represent Sonepar’s unique balance of global scale and local empowerment– have been simplified in order to work powerfully wherever they appear. Sonepar’s new identity is modern, bold, and designed for an omnichannel experience
Philippe Delpech, Sonepar CEO commented, “Thanks to a unique combination of a long-term horizon, best-in-class leadership, an engaged workforce and demanding corporate governance, Sonepar has built an undisputed leadership position in B2B electrical product distribution, systems, and services. I would like to thank our 45,000 associates for their engagement and their professionalism all throughout the year. You all contributed to an incredible 2021 performance, and I am very confident that we will be able to grow together in 2022, which will be for sure, another turning point in Sonepar’s history.”
Sonepar is publicly releasing its worldwide Code of Conduct, in keeping with current practice within the Group.
Marie-Christine Coisne-Roquette, Chairman, said: “Integrity has always been a key value and a compelling behavior at Sonepar. Today, in a world where compliance becomes increasingly essential, the Group is launching a substantial pro compliance and anti-corruption program, both to impress upon everyone the importance of combatting those evils and to help everyone avoid, detect and stop any non-compliant action.”
Philippe Delpech, CEO, added: “Compliance is a challenge for everyone at Sonepar, every day and in everything we do. To help everybody understand Sonepar’s expectations, we are issuing our Code of Conduct, which supplements all existing policies and instructions applicable in the Group. We want all our stakeholders—associates, customers, suppliers and third parties—to know and understand Sonepar’s compliance objectives and focus. Our mission is to communicate continuously, making sure our associates feel comfortable about reporting any event they believe is not in line with our Code of Conduct.”
Sonepar encourages every natural person, whether employed by a Group company or not, to report, selflessly and in good faith, any serious and obvious breach of law or regulation, or any threat or severe harm to the business integrity, such as acts of corruption or influence peddling, and any behavior or situation that violates the Group’s code of conduct, which the individual personally gained knowledge of.
Sonepar is, therefore, launching its Sonepar Whistleblower Procedure ensuring the whistleblower’s identity, the information provided and the identity of the person(s) involved in the reported facts remain confidential. The procedure, inclusive of a secured channel, makes it possible to communicate documents in support of the alert. The channel is outsourced, whereas assessment and monitoring of the alert are not.
Click here to access the whistleblowing tool:
For concerns created prior to December 16 2021
For concerns created after December 16 2021
Whistle Blowing Platform
Since 1886 we’ve been supplying quality products to customers across multiple market sectors, including residential, commercial and industrial.
‘We Know Electrical’ and strive to be the wholesaler of choice for knowledge, customer service, digital business solutions, consistent pricing and stock availability.
We know how important it is to have available stock every time you visit one of our branches, so we stock a consistent range of your everyday items from leading industry brands that are certified to Australian Standards.
We pride ourselves on being at the forefront of innovations especially when it comes to digitalising the way you run your business. We have a range of digital solutions that can improve your day to day efficiencies and let you focus on the things that really impact your business, servicing customers.
We know how quickly things change in this industry and we’re here to assist your business to adapt and move into new growth areas. We not only train our own staff but have access to a wide range of training and education solutions that can assist you and your business, ensuring you’re always up to date with latest products and services available.
Our National coverage means no matter where you are, we are there too! We have branches strategically located across the country to ensure we’re never too far away to service your next job. Finding a local branch is easy, just visit our branch locator on our website.
We know you want your price to be the right price every time you shop with us. We’re working hard so that you can trust us to provide you with consistent pricing no matter the size of your business or the market you operate in.
Lawrence & Hanson opened its doors in 1886. Today, we have over 150 branches nationally and remain the most recognised electrical wholesaler in Australia.
It’s never been a better time to join our business. Our five-year plan focuses on people development, business growth and investment in technology and systems.
We invest in our people because we know they make the difference. Last year, we supported the career progression of over 25% of our workforce.
Our people are genuine, and our branch teams have a strong work-family ethos. We work hard, have fun and succeed together.
We know our people work hard to serve our customers’ needs and maintain their loyalty. In turn, we reward them with an attractive profit share scheme in each branch.
We are part of Sonepar, the world leader in B2B distribution of electrical products. Despite our global scale and reach, we remain true to our Australian heritage.
It’s an exciting time for Lawrence & Hanson as we continue to grow our business.
Our people are committed to providing our customers with knowledge, expertise and outstanding service experience.
My leadership team and I want to support our people to grow and develop their capability and be proud to be part of a winning team. This approach has seen us become the most recognised electrical wholesaler in Australia.
We work hard to create a workplace where everyone feels welcomed and included. Our business very much has a family-feel and a strong focus on performance and celebrating success together.
I personally hope you will consider taking advantage of the career opportunities that Lawrence & Hanson offers, and I look forward to welcoming you to the team!