The world’s largest wholesale distributor of pool equipment and related outdoor supplies, Pool Corporation (Pool Corp), has leapt into the Australian market, buying a 60 per cent interest in Pool Systems Pty Ltd.
The multi-faceted arrangement sees Pool Systems become the largest trade distributor of swimming pool supplies in Australasia.
The current management remains in place with Adrian Wischer (currently executive chairman) remaining as managing director; Rob McDonald (general manager) and Anthony Ramsay (commercial manager). Dave Cook (Group VP) and Mark Joslin (CFO) from Pool Corp will join the Pool Systems board. Local decisions will be made by the Australian board.
Following the sale, Pool Systems company founder Warwick Heathcote retired as a director and is no longer a shareholder. However, he will remain a consultant for another year.
Adrian Wischer says that he believes this transaction will be beneficial not only for Pool Systems’ growth over the long-term, but for the Australian swimming pool market as a whole.
“The investment by Pool Corp demonstrates their confidence in this market and to a greater degree, their commitment to the industry,” he says.
Wischer says the company’s aim is to be more relevant to customers, reduce their cost of doing business and promote business growth by offering unique products and programs.
“Yes, we may be the largest wholesale distributor of swimming pool supplies, equipment and related leisure products, but our aim is to provide the most extensive range at the lowest possible cost, while at the same time maximising supply logistics to deliver the best value to our customers,” he says.
While Pool Corp has a majority share in Pool Systems, the Pool Corp brand will not exist in the Australian marketplace. Pool Systems branded products will continue and the Niagara brand will remain as is.
“Pool Systems’ portfolio of leading brands and Niagara and will coexist throughout Australia and New Zealand,” says Anthony Ramsay. “However, there will be customer integration during the season within New South Wales and Victoria.”
Wischer says there will be no job losses. In fact, he says there will be more jobs and career opportunities adding that Pool Corp is committed to staff development and training, and they plan to bring that dedication to Pool Systems and Niagara.
Ramsay says that while no change is planned with the Pool Systems export program, the Pool Corp OEM relationships and connections will no doubt open doors around the world, supported by their leading product development program. Additionally, there is the potential for inventory expansion from the US and other markets.
Pool Corp president and CEO Manny Perez de la Mesa says he is excited by the opportunities of this important investment in the large Australian pool market.
“Pool Systems has a national presence, broad market penetration and is an established distributor with proven sourcing relationships,” he says in a statement. “Niagara is a longstanding distributor of pool products in New South Wales and its distribution relationships will be a key to our success in this new venture. This is a chance for us to pursue the opportunity to provide value as a value-add distributor and build a network to serve professional trade and retail customers.”
Pool Corporation is the largest wholesale distributor of swimming pool and related backyard products. Currently, Pool Corp operates 329 sales centres in North America, Europe, South America and Australia, through which it distributes more than 160,000 national brand and private label products to more than 80,000 wholesale customers.