The buying organization United Aqua Group and PoolCorp have entered a new relationship.

According to the arrangement, UAG will receive rebates from PoolCorp cumulatively on all purchases made by the organization’s members, however officials did not disclose the rate. The Las Vegas-based buying group distributes yearly dividends to its members.

Like other such organizations, UAG hopes to process as many member purchases as possible. But officials said the PoolCorp arrangement made sense because companies occasionally must buy through distribution to receive products the same day.

“Bottom line: Our members are currently purchasing millions of dollars through distribution and, similar to other vendors, it simply makes sense to structure a program where they benefit from these purchases where previously they had [no benefit],” said Tracy Miguel, UAG’s vice president of sales and marketing.

In the past, some buying-group members have viewed distributors in an adversarial way, particularly PoolCorp because of its size. One UAG member said response to the new arrangement within the group was mixed. In response to PSN’s initial online reporting of the new relationship, one reader commented that buying groups are supposed to help prevent the higher prices that could result from a lack of competition at the distribution level.

But Miguel said members were mostly positive when the program was announced at UAG’s annual conference in February. “The message was ‘We’re here to help,’ as opposed to ‘We’re here to take your business,’” Miguel said. “They are not the enemy. They are a company that has demonstrated a commitment to helping our membership.

“Our organization is evolving and does not consider our relationship adversarial. In fact, we consider it mutually beneficial.”

PoolCorp has similar agreements in place with other buying groups, said its president/CEO, Manuel Perez de la Mesa. “The UAG was the single most significant organization with whom we didn’t have a relationship in the past,” he said. “Our agenda is to help our customers succeed because that’s the only way we can succeed.”

Miguel said UAG has no plans to form similar relationships with other distributors.