Aquatics and Commercial

Pool Systems buys Niagara Pool Supplies

August 3, 2014
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Pool Systems chairman Adrian Wischer with Niagara directors Nelleke Gilhuys and Dennis Baxter

Pool Systems, the Brisbane-based supplier of pool accessories, equipment and chemicals, has finalised its acquisition of Sydney-based wholesaler Niagara Pool Supplies.

The acquisition comes as the world’s largest supplier of pool equipment, Pool Corporation (Pool Corp), has taken a majority interest in Pool Systems.

Pool Systems has been a part of the Australasian swimming pool and spa industry for more than 30 years, while Niagara has been in business for more than 40 years.

The new consolidated businesses will now have a product range approaching 10,000 stock keeping units (SKUs).

Although new to the pool industry, joining Pool Systems in 2013, Pool Systems general manager Rob McDonald is broadly experienced in market and channel development.

“Initially Pool Systems and Niagara Pool Supplies will trade as two separate entities and identities to ensure that service to customers is not disrupted,” says McDonald. “New South Wales and Victorian customers will see improvements in their service levels as the warehouses are optimised.”

McDonald says staff are all very excited by the acquisition and future prospects.

“The Niagara brand has supported the industry for more than 40 years, and is further enhanced by this acquisition. Niagara’s enormous range is supported by the imminent release of a 464 page product catalogue which is the most comprehensive whole product and parts release in a decade,” he says.

McDonald says that six months ago Pool Systems undertook a review of its business and the marketplace and identified several areas of opportunity.

He says that while breadth of product range is a key fundamental, other elements such as trade marketing, business and technical education could enable Pool Systems customers to optimise their businesses.

McDonald says that the acquisition presents an enormous opportunity to satisfy the needs of trade partners who are seeking simplicity and efficiency of supply, and significantly, the acquisition comes with Niagara’s central geographic location in Sydney.

Last year, Pool Systems relocated to a new 10,000 square metre site to provide scope for growth.

“Plans are in place to improve this site and increase service levels to our customers,” says McDonald. “However, the vacant space is shrinking fast.”

The additional location in Sydney should help with that issue as well as improve distribution efficiency.

McDonald says the consolidated business will have one of the largest sales teams in the industry to support customers with merchandising and marketing programs, and well-known industry manager Anthony Ramsay has recently been appointed to lead the Pool Systems commercial team.

In addition to the activity on the east coast, the business is supporting national organisations through its long term strategic alliances with Austral Pool Solutions (WA), Pool Power (SA) and Austral Pool and Spa (NZ).

Pool Systems also exports to the USA, Europe and Oceania and its contacts in these markets provide opportunities to preview new trends and concepts, says McDonald.

“Without the vision and commitment from the business owners, chairman Adrian Wischer and founder Warwick Heathcote, the Pool Systems renaissance may not have happened,” says McDonald.

“Both men are hands on and provide great guidance and support to the team. The great thing is that they have an attitude for improvement and a thirst for growth.”

Niagara directors Nelleke Gilhuys and Dennis Baxter will stay on for four months as part of the handover to assist in the transition of ownership, after which time they plan to retire.

 

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