Evolve Group is looking for investors in their Poolrite business to enable it to grow and achieve its full potential.
In a move spurred by an increase in enquiry to Poolrite over the past six months, Evolve engaged its mergers and acquisitions team to seek a strategic investment partner. The aim is to equip Poolrite with the resources to handle the envisioned long-term, sustained growth.
To facilitate this, Evolve will establish a dedicated entity to own and operate Poolrite’s IP, equipment and assets – and ensure that the new Poolrite business can operate independently from Evolve’s diversified and sometimes competitive resource pool.
Australian pool and spa equipment manufacturer Poolrite was founded in 1978. It was acquired by The Evolve Group in 2013 after Poolrite had gone into administration.
Evolve Group managing director Ty Hermans say that now is the perfect time for Poolrite to gain increased market share.
“There’s no two ways about it,” says Hermans. “When Poolrite folded, a couple of the big players did very well. A few key players picked up most of that business, and while we’ve been steadily regrowing it, the opportunity is there to get that business back and more.
“There is the opportunity for someone in the industry to pick up a great range of products or for a savvy investor to get in on the ground floor. If someone can’t come in and increase revenue by about five times in three years, then they’re not the right person.”
Looking inside and outside the industry
He says the right investor may come from the pool and spa industry, or may be a private equity or venture capital organisation.
“We’ve already had responses from industry players and also from non-industry players,” he says.
“It makes sense for someone in the industry to pick it up, but there’s absolutely a private investment play there as well, given we’re happy to be as involved or as uninvolved as the investor wants Evolve to be in the future operation.
“We want to give Poolrite the resources it needs to go and take massive market share. If someone wants to take a minority stake that’s fine, and some may want Evolve just to be a supplier of components or finished goods to them, which we are open to.”
Continuing local manufacturing
Hermans says that what Evolve does is develop and commercialise products.
“Poolrite was an opportunistic acquisition, based on the fact we saw a lot of plastic going into the products that we could manufacture in our facility. Our focus was to build the foundations back up again.
“Now we’ve got the best skimmer in the industry and the most scientific-based mineral system – and the wide range of reliable Poolrite pumps and filters that Poolrite was built on – the brand is set for rapid growth which our facility will ideally continue to manufacture here in Australia.”
Last year, Evolve brought in Dale Collins as national sales manager.
“Dale is the former national business development manager for Zodiac and their Titanium dealer network,” says Hermans. “He was brought in as our first dedicated strategic sales resource in August last year as a decisive move to pick up some serious customers. The first thing we did was make sure we have the right product mix. He’s been doing a really good job.”
Stability of the supply chain
Hermans says stability of the supply chain is paramount, and they will be working around the clock to ensure that there is no disruption to supply.
“When the new entity is operational we will ensure all customers have ample time and preparation to cut across to ordering from the new company,” he says.
“I believe ensuring Poolrite is equipped for long-term growth, and ensuring it is able to continue to launch innovative and iconic swimming pool equipment is something each and every one of us in the industry should be extremely supportive of,” he says.
He believes this is a very exciting time for Poolrite and Evolve, and says his entire team is proud of what they have achieved with Poolrite to date, and where they will take it into the future.
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