In a bid to boost its West Coast presence,PoolCorp has agreed to purchase distributor General Pool & Spa Supply.
Terms of the deal, announced Oct. 5 and expected to close later in the month, were not disclosed.
General Pool & Spa Supply, headquartered near Sacramento in Rancho Cordova, Calif., proved an attractive target for PoolCorp for a variety of reasons.
“Over the course of seven to eight years, they have made significant investments in technology, as well as investing in a broader offering in terms of spa parts,” said Manuel J. Perez de la Mesa, PoolCorp president/ CEO. “We look for good companies, particularly in markets where we don’t have a dual presence. General is one of the most progressive regional distributors in the industry, and the fact that we didn’t have that second network there made the company an even better fit.”
General Pool & Spa Supply, led by President Philip Gelhaus, has 10 distribution centers in Northern and Central California, as well as Sparks, Nev., and Chandler, Ariz. In 2009, the company counted approximately 80 employees, with annual net sales of about $40 million.
“Operationally, we’ve been very impressed with everyone in the company — particularly as we’ve come to know them better over the last month or two,” said Mark Joslin, vice president/chief financial officer at PoolCorp, which is based in Covington, La.
Company officials expect a smooth transition with little disruption to current customers, Joslin added. In addition, he said nearly all General Pool & Spa Supply employees would be retained. However, Phil Gelhaus will be retiring from the firm.
The purchase of General should fit well into PoolCorp’s increasing emphasis on maintenance and aftermarket products, particularly in light of the slowdown in new-pool construction.
The firm also proved tempting for its technological and e-commerce capabilities, which are considered among the best in the industry.
“They’ve always been very progressive in their ability to leverage technology to increase customer service,” said Bruce Fisher, vice president of global marketing at Hayward Pool Products in Elizabeth, N.J.
“Big picture, I think this was a natural course of action,” he added. “As industries mature, this kind of consolidation is going to continue. It’s inevitable. This was a great futures-type acquisition.”
The move adds a further dynamic to a related piece of news that surfaced in the past two months, namely, BioLab’s decision to revive its SUN product line and re-enter the distribution market.
General Pool & Spa Supply was among a handful of distributors re-upping with the manufacturer, along with an exclusivity agreement.
Phil Gelhaus declined to comment pending completion of the deal on Oct. 16.