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Mergers and acquisitions are not at all uncommon in the pool and spa industry; consolidation has played a great role in shaping our industry for decades. However, rarely are they as significant as the merger between between Barcelona-based Fluidra and Zodiac Pool Systems. The union will turn the new organization — which will be known internationally as Fluidra but will continue to operate under the Zodiac name in the U.S. — into a global powerhouse with 5,500 employees and a presence in 45 countries.
To learn more, AQUA spoke with Fluidra Managing Director Troy Franzen about the reasoning behind the merger, what the future holds and how this move will impact the thousands of industry professionals who rely on and carry Zodiac products.
AQUA: Why did Fluidra and Zodiac decide to merge?
TF: This was a merger of two organizations that will benefit mutually from each other's strengths. The two companies are extremely complementary in terms of their geographical reach, brands and product portfolios, and both companies also share a similar set of values underscored by focus on the customer. By coming together, we create a stronger company.
AQUA: How will this merger affect the retailers, builders and service professionals who carry/use Zodiac products?
TF: Our customers initially will not notice much difference. We'll continue to operate under the Zodiac name and our brands, products and programs won't change. Ultimately, though, we'll be able to offer our customers a much broader range of products, including products for the commercial pool market. We believe our customers will appreciate the expanded product offering as well as the increased resources we'll have to support them.
AQUA: Will the new combined company facilitate any economies of scale or technical innovations?
TF: Yes, one of the greatest benefits of this merger is that the combined company now has 5,500 global employees. And a large portion of our combined resources are dedicated to R&D, product development and manufacturing. We are looking to leverage this capability to accelerate innovation in several areas, including IoT, robotics and energy efficiency.
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AQUA: Were there similarities/synergies in corporate culture, marketing and product development that made Fluidra and Zodiac a logical fit?
TF: This is a good question. When evaluating a potential merger, the fit of two organizations — both business and cultural — is the most important consideration.
From the business perspective, both organizations are extremely complementary. Our brand and product portfolios enhance our overall offering to customers — geographically, we now operate in over 45 countries — and with a strengthened pool of dedicated engineering and manufacturing resources we'll have the ability to innovate at a faster pace.
But what's probably most important for the overall long-term health of our new organization is that both companies share a vision that is focused squarely on our customer. At the end of the day, what the new Fluidra does as a company needs to be to the benefit of our customers, both pool professionals and pool owners. Emphasis on our customer is central to our new organization.
AQUA: From an innovation standpoint, is there anything in particular Fluidra will focus on?
TF: In general, we are looking to innovate on several fronts, and in many cases that means making products easier to install and setup for the pool professional, and easier to use for the pool owner to make their pool experience more enjoyable. That said, the new Fluidra has a history of innovating in the area of the connected pool experience through our automation platforms. As the concept of the "smart home" continues to grow and is supported by an increasing range of connected products, we will look for opportunities to expand the connected experience as it relates to the pool and outdoor environment. This is a growing area and there is a lot of opportunity to leverage the available technologies to create a better pool experience for professionals and consumers alike.
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