After the longest running pool industry saga in recent memory, The Evolve Group has finally purchased the assets of Poolrite Pty Ltd and Poolrite Research Pty Ltd, gaining unabridged ownership of the Poolrite brand and products.
At the same time, Evolve has divested some of those assets to third parties, most notably the Magnapool brand and the Poolrite skimmer to Zodiac Group Australia. The Poolrite chlorinators have been bought by a new entity, Poolrite Chlorinators Pty Ltd, set up by Allchlor with Clearwater founder Len David.
Evolve will retain the full pump and filter range (“the heart of the pool”) as it is the best fit with their manufacturing base, including their plastics expertise.
Evolve Group managing director Ty Hermans says the purchase represents a strategic approach to acquire and divest specific assets and equipment to best-placed interested parties.
“We were very keen to work with companies who’ll benefit us in the future – companies who are best in field and best-placed to take these products into the future and do a great job of it. It’s sensational that Zodiac Australia has bought this Australian technology and has the potential to take it to their international network,” says Hermans.
“Allchlor has purchased the chlorinators – and they are experts in that field. Their focus will be on resurrecting some of the chlorinators that had made Poolrite’s name in the past,” he says.
“Those parties can breathe life into the brands and products that built Poolrite into one of the leading manufacturers of swimming pool equipment in Australia.
“Our vision is too see The Evolve Group become the leading manufacturer and supplier of pumps and filters to the market.”
He says there is a lot to be said about providing certainty in this space for the industry.
“Poolrite had some great products and it’s now about getting them back out to the market in the best way possible. We have partnered with industry’s leaders in their field and this will ensure that these great products have a long and prosperous future.”
“We’ll be handling the heart of the pool: the pumps and filters that really brought Poolrite to be number one,” says Hermans. “Those two key products are very reliable. In any pool system we think we’ve got the best pump and arguably the best filter. From September we’ll have them rolling off the lines.
“Our view is that Poolrite built a reputation for manufacturing the most reliable pump and filter in the industry, and we are going to focus on this. When builders, pool shops and retail customers think about which pump and filter they are going to install, we want them to think Poolrite, not only because they are bulletproof, but because we are going to back them up with the industry’s best warranty policy and backup service.”
He also says that Evolve will be a one-stop shop for all Poolrite spare parts, and that it’s important that everyone knows that Evolve now has a great deal of stock available.
“If they want stock, it will all be available from Monday morning (August 5). We have a lot of stock that had been caught up in the administration, but it’s all available now. Some of it is for older products which might not go back into production, so this is your chance to get a hold of it.”
Anyone interested in stock should email firstname.lastname@example.org to find out more.
Hermans says they also have a few big new innovations coming in the near future, including new technology in tank design.
Zodiac Group Australia
Zodiac has acquired the IP rights to market and sell the Magnapool products and system in Australia and abroad. It has also acquired the Poolrite skimmer box and associated products.
Zodiac plans to rebuild inventory and recommence marketing investment in the Magnapool brand, with a view to re-launching in October 2013 to dealers and consumers.
Zodiac will commence taking orders for Poolrite skimmer boxes immediately.
Steve Walls, managing director of Zodiac Group Australia says they are very excited about this tactical acquisition.
“It fills a couple of key gaps in our range and provides our dealers with even more market-leading products to offer their customers,” he says.
“Poolrite skimmers have always been recognised as the best in their field. Likewise, the Magnapool system is a great concept that meets a clear market need for alternative pool sanitisers. We are looking forward to getting the product back into the marketplace and growing the brand and range again.
“With our Global Water Care R&D team based here in Australia, the Magnapool acquisition also provides us with some really exciting opportunities to add further value to our innovative offering.”
Poolrite Chlorinators Pty Ltd
The new chlorinator company has been formed with a number of partners, chief of whom are Allchlor and Len David.
Ray Mander from Allchlor says the first cab off the rank will be to ensure comprehensive chlorinator parts are available for existing customers. The second stage will be the release of robust and affordable systems, based on the best of the Poolrite catalogue. Third, they plan some very innovative releases.
Allchlor has been a Queensland chlorinator specialist for more than 25 years, servicing up to 1000 units per month, including products from Zodiac, Poolrite, Davey, AstralPool and others.
Consequently, they have a massive range of spare parts and chlorinator cells, and they wholesale these across Australia.
They have been manufacturing very reliable Poolrite replacement cells for a number of years and in the past 10 months have been providing service, parts and advice for the vast majority of Poolrite dealers and customers.
Victorian Len David was the founder of Clearwater and turned it into a worldwide brand before selling it to Zodiac. He currently manufactures high-end coated titanium for the industry and has been a consultant to a number of the majors.
Anyone with a chlorinator query can call Allchlor on (07) 3277 2554.
A conclusion to a long process
In October 2012, Evolve came to an arrangement with Poolrite to manufacture, market, sell and distribute Magnapool and Poolrite products. Shortly afterwards, voluntary administrators were called in and a series of bidders looked at purchasing the assets of Poolrite.
Through that process AstralPool Australia went close to completing the purchase, but ultimately the sale did not progress.
Evolve then moved quickly to sign a contract for the purchase of the assets. The only hiccup came when the administrators discovered a pre-existing arrangement granting intellectual property rights to Aquarius Pty Ltd.
Once that issue was cleared up, Evolve was able to purchase Poolrite’s assets unencumbered, and the deal was settled on August 2.
Staff and creditors
Staff will need to get their entitlements paid through the Federal Entitlement Guarantee (FEG).
Poolrite liquidators SV Partners have lodged the verification forms and are awaiting a response from FEG.
Unfortunately, unsecured creditors will not get a return as there are insufficient funds to fully pay the two secured creditors, Commonwealth Bank of Australia and the Westpac Banking Corporation.