Wilbar International continues to aggressively build its portfolio in the aboveground pool market.
After purchasing Canadian manufacturer Vogue in September 2008, Wilbar has acquired some of the assets of Delair Group following that company’s decision to discontinue its line of aboveground pools in October 2009. Delair was regarded by many in the industry as making a higher-end product.
The assets, which include supplies and equipment, will be used to launch a new brand called Premier Aluminum Pools.
“There’s a nice niche in the aboveground market for aluminum pools, especially extruded aluminum pools,” said Gerry Herson, director of strategic development for the Hauppauge, N.Y.-based firm. “Wilbar has always participated in [the category], but not to the extent Delair had, so this gave us the opportunity to expand our aluminum line.”
The acquisition allows Wilbar to offer a full line of aluminum models in addition to its steel and resin products, he added. The equipment from Delair also will increase Wilbar’s production capabilities by 30 percent, particularly on aluminum pools, decks and fencing.
The purchase did not include rights to the Esther Williams or Johnny Weissmuller brands, two long-tenured names in the pool industry.
“[The products are] known within the industry, but not outside of it,” Herson said. “I don’t know that there’s a lot of brand recognition by the consumer regarding aboveground pools at this point.”
Wilbar will assume the warranties of all Delair pools, building goodwill with dealers who previously sold the two brands.
“We plan on providing aluminum pools to most of the same customers, so we want to make sure they’re covered on their old inventory,” Herson said.
While the aboveground market has been hurt by the economy and lack of consumer credit, Herson is optimistic.
“We’d like to put the brakes on this skid in the pool industry,” he said. “Aside from market-share growth, we hope the aboveground sector will be up around 10 percent in 2010.”
In addition to Vogue, Wilbar has acquired Aqua Leader, Artesian and Atlantic Pools in the aboveground sector. The firm also owns Sharkline and Backyard Leisure Aboveground Pools.