Descours & Cabaud

Groupe Descours & Cabaud

10, rue du Général Plessier
BP 2437
69219 LYON Cedex 02 - France

Tél. : +33 (0) 4 72 40 85 85
Fax : +33 (0) 4 72 40 86 88
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Stemming from a steel retail business founded in 1782 in Lyon, Descours & Cabaud positions itself by its size, its strength and its commercial solutions portfolio as a unique multi-products and multi-businesses model, leader in its markets. 

Managed by Pierre de Limairac, the Group is active in nine European countries (France, Spain, Belgium, The Netherlands, Slovakia, The Czech Republic, Switzerland, Italy, Germany), in China and in North America. It employs more than 11 600 staff members in 590 selling points and it achieved a turnover of close to €3 billion in 2013. 

Prolians and Dexis, its two European retail banners launched in 2000, actively support 450 000 customers in the Building and Public Works sector, in the private or public tertiary and industrial sectors on a daily basis. 

Prolians, the multi-specialist retail banner, is specifically targeted towards professionals in the Building and Public Works sector as well as administrations and local authorities. 

Dexis, the technical trading banner, addresses all sectors of industry. 

Today, in partnership with leading French and world manufacturers, the Group’s diversification enables it to provide the largest supply and service offerings available on the market. 

For over two centuries, Descours & Cabaud has shown its ability to transmit the entrepreneurial spirit of its founders across generations whilst reflecting values such as respect for people, business consistency, professional efficiency, integrity and equality. The Group shall ensure that its future development is always driven by these values. 

The history of Descours & Cabaud starts in Gray, in Haute-Saône where the Dufournel family owned blast furnaces.


In 1782, César Dufournel set up a metallurgical products retail outlet along the banks of the Saône river in Lyon. He had in-depth knowledge of the steel industry and trading was his in-laws’ business. 


The Revolution and its consequences virtually bankrupted César Dufournel’s business. His son, Charles, revived the activity at the beginning of the 19th century. 


André Descours and Lupicin Cabaud took over the management of the company which then opened up to the international market with the setting up of a network of correspondents in Trieste, Bucarest, Galatz, Bari, Naples, Palermo et Geneva. 


The company’s international development built momentum with the implantation in Argentina, then a few years later in Algeria, Vietnam, Tunisia, Cambodia and Morocco. The first professional developments dated back to the beginning of the 20th century with the distribution of hardware and tooling products. 


The Great War strongly disrupted activities, leading to shortages of supplies and unprecedented price increases. Thanks to its international presence, the Group crossed those difficult times. This presence was increased, especially in Argentina and in the Maghreb regions, up until 1929. The economic crisis strongly affected the turnover of Descours & Cabaud over the following five years. 


The Second World War had a tremendous negative impact on business in mainland France. Nevertheless, its large diversification steered Descours & Cabaud through this chaotic period. 

Around 1950

The group established itself in French West Africa and in Madagascar, relay to the forced withdrawal from Indochina then from Algeria in 1963. In the same era, Descours & Cabaud management decided to increase activities in France and to set up in Spain and in the United States. 

1980 to 1990

Descours & Cabaud increased its development in France and broadened its product range. 


The takeover of GDFI, which had 42 selling points, provided the Group with the opportunity to position itself as the French leader in industrial trading supplies. 


Since 2000, Descours & Cabaud has accelerated its European expansion, establishing itself in the Netherlands, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Switzerland, Italy and Germany. In addition, the Group developed new businesses such as roofing products, home automation and water management businesses.