AquaStar Files Suit Against Hayward

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AquaStar Pool Products has initiated legal proceedings against Hayward Industries, alleging that the large, comprehensive pool product manufacturer has been using its clout with distributors to muscle out its smaller APC competitor, AquaStar.

In some ways, the suit echoes allegations made against POOLCORP in a filing by the Federal Trade Commission settled in November of last year, in which POOLCORP was accused of using its leverage as a dominant player in the distributor market to squeeze out smaller distributors.

In this case, however, AquaStar has alleged Hayward threatened to punish AquaStar distributors in various ways, including by withholding Hayward products, which make up a significant percentage of some distributors’ inventories. Losing access to Hayward products would force those distributors' customers to go elsewhere.

Hayward has denied the allegations, but its motion to dismiss the case has been refused and the suit will proceed.

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