A European firm has entered into an agreement to purchase Aqua Products, producer of robotic pool cleaners based in Cedar Grove, N.J.
The deal was finalized in February, with the Sabadell, Spain-based
Fluidra agreeing to acquire Aqua Products and sister firm Aquatron,
another robotic cleaner company based in Afula Elite, Israel, with
a branch in Delray Beach, Fla.
The transaction was valued at $44 million, which represents 4.2
times the 2010 EBITDA, according to Fluidra officials.
Established in 1982, the Aqua Products group does business in 40
countries under its own brand names, as well as private labeling
for a number of other companies.
Fluidra is known primarily in the United States as the parent of
Astral Pool. Its U.S. headquarters are in Jacksonville, Fla., but
globally, it is one of the largest providers of pool equipment,
selling products in more than 170 countries. In addition to pool
and spa equipment, the firm deals in water conservation and
With this latest purchase, Fluidra sees an additional entree into
the American market, as well as a diversification in its portfolio.
Previously, the group did not manufacture robotic cleaners, but had
distributed another brand.
“The integration of Aqua Products in our group opens access
to new distribution channels into the residential market and will
fill a strategic gap in our offering,” said Eloi Planes, CEO
of Fluidra Group.
He added that the acquisition is projected to increase
Fluidra’s U.S. sales by 300 percent.
Aqua Products’ management and staff are expected to stay on,
and Fluidra doesn’t plan to change the operations or product
lines. “The current team has done a great job to achieve
leadership in the sector,” Planes said. “The
management’s experience in this particular field complements
our long-term plans.”
While Fluidra stands to further penetrate the U.S. market, the Aqua
Products group expects the new arrangement to help it expand
“I think the only thing we can possibly anticipate is that
our continued growth might even be more rapid by having this
relationship,” said Gil Erlich, vice president of sales and
marketing at Aqua Products. “We have a stronger financial
backing and, I think, the possibility of future opportunities with
expanded product offerings, perhaps outside the robotic cleaner
Observers have said it may be worth watching to see if Fluidra
follows this new acquisition by bringing other products such as
pumps into the United States, and whether it can find an opening in
a market dominated by a number of long-entrenched players.