Westburne executed a letter of intent for a strategic alliance between its Industrial Products Group in Canada and Apex Industrial Supply Ltd., an industrial supply distributor based in Moncton, New Brunswick, with four branches in New Brunswick and Nova Scotia. Westburne will own 50% of the shares of Apex and the current shareholders will own the other 50% and continue to lead the organization. After a period of time, Westburne will have the opportunity to acquire 100% of Apex shares.

Another letter of intent was executed for the purchase of the assets of City Pipe and Supply Co. of Ventura, Calif., to become part of Westburne’s Plumbing and Waterworks Group in the United States. Russ Wright, the sole owner of City Pipe, will remain as branch manager.

In other news, Westburne announced earnings per share of nine cents (U.S. dollars) for the first quarter, an increase of 16.7% over the eight cents per share in 1998. Sales totaled $347.2 million, including $11.7 million from acquisitions, a 5.4% increase from 1998.