In The News: January 2004

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Sundance And Jacuzzi To Sponsor AQUA Conference

The 13th Annual AQUA Show, Nov. 911, 2004 at the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino in Las Vegas, will have added industry backing as Sundance Spas and Jacuzzi Premium announced that they have signed on as sponsors of the AQUA Retail Conference.

"We have chosen to support the AQUA education program because we see it as an opportunity to support the success of dealers in our industry," said Jerry Greer, vice president of sales and marketing for Sundance.

Additionally, the companies have decided to focus their resources on just one fall 2004 trade show — the AQUA Show. Greer cited the AQUA Conference as a deciding factor.

"With two shows in Las Vegas just weeks apart, we felt we had to choose one, and AQUA is the best choice for us," he said. "Not only is it the first show of the 2005 selling season, but it is also the best opportunity for our dealers to gain the professional and technical education they need to be successful."

For more information, call Stan Chambers at 800/536-3630 or visit aquashow.com.

Council Presents Awards

The National Spa & Pool Institute's Hot Tub Council awarded NSPI Eagle and INSPIRE citations to Lauren Stack and ThermoSpas, respectively.

Stack of Shaker Heights, Ohio, received the Eagle Award. First given in 1981, the award recognizes an individual who has demonstrated the highest commitment and service to the advancement of the industry.

Stack served on the Council as secretary, vice-chairperson and Chairperson while concurrently chairing the marketing subcommittee. She was a leader in the development of the Council's new HotTubLiving publicity campaign.

ThermoSpas, Wallingford, Conn., won the first INSPIRE Award, established this year to recognize a company that has made a notable contribution to the welfare and image of the industry. ThermoSpas recently designed a hot tub that specifically targets the therapy needs of people with muscle and joint pain. The tub is the result of a collaboration between ThermoSpas engineers, staff from the Arthritis Foundation, medical experts and people living with arthritis.

Big Turnout In Big Easy

Exhibitors and attendees alike were "swamped" at this year's International Pool & Spa Expo, Nov. 5-7, at the Morial Convention Center, New Orleans. The show scored record-setting increases in attendance and exhibitors, outpacing last year's show, held in Dallas.

"We're very pleased with the continuing success of the International Pool & Spa Expo," said Rick McConnell, senior show director, in a press release from show owner Hanley Wood. "We strive to provide high-quality exhibitors, representing a majority of the backyard living industry, along with valuable education to attract high-level buyers from around the world."

Professionals representing 50 states and 65 countries attended the Expo, and according to show organizers, the 13,156 industry members marks a 17 percent increase over the 2002 show.

With 234,000 square feet of exhibit space — an increase of 22 percent from last year — the Expo included 622 exhibiting companies and 2,340 booths.

The Expo's seminar enrollment mirrored the overall attendance with a 17 percent increase. A series of live workshops, sponsored by the NSPI Builders and Service Councils, provided hands-on demonstrations of topics including salt water generators, aggregate finishes, commercial pool construction and renovation, chlorine generators and shotcrete application.

The show's opening day featured a sold-out Keynote Address by criminal-turned-consultant Frank Abagnale, subject of the blockbuster Steven Spielberg movie, Catch Me if You Can. The audience was entertained with his incredible story and motivated by his emotional message on the importance of family.

Sta-Rite Web Site

Sta-Rite Industries, Delavan, Wis., recently redesigned its Web site, starite.com.

The site now includes product information, owners' manuals that can be downloaded and links to other industry sites. The site can also direct consumers to local water professionals through its dealer locator.

Marquis In U.K.

Marquis Spas has taken steps to strengthen its international presence by partnering with British distributor Golden Partners, which will represent the Marquis line in the United Kingdom.

The two companies introduced the Marquis brand to Golden Partners' territory in the fall, highlighting several models engineered specifically for the U.K. market.

Latham Buys Kafko Int'l.

Latham International recently acquired Kafko International, a 33year-old manufacturer of steel and polymer in-ground package components.

Latham International comprises Latham Products, Pacific Industries, Pacific Pools, Technician Pacific and Triac Pool Products. The group manufactures liners, walls and other pool components as well as rails, ladders and other accessories.

Kafko will continue to operate as a separate division under the Latham International umbrella, and under the leadership of its current president, Bill Kindness. Kafko has manufacturing facilities in Atlanta; Trenton, N.J.; Ypsilanti, Mich.; Toronto; Montreal; and Sacramento, Calif.

Professional Paint Acquires Duckback

Professional Paint, a privately held company that owns many regional paint brands in the western United States and Canada, recently acquired, through a wholly owned subsidiary, the operating assets of Duckback Products.

Chino, Calif.-based Duckback manufactures wood and concrete stains and has distribution across the United States and Canada.

According to Kent Child, CEO of Professional Paint, "The Duckback acquisition provides PPI with access to a proven distribution channel and diversifies our customer base. Duckback will operate as a standalone division of PPI with plans of introducing new specialty DIY products to its current product offerings."

Dream Maker Acquires Lines From Quantum

Dream Maker, Orlando, Fla., purchased the X-Spa-Dition spa line from Pensacola, Fla.-based Quantum Products of Northwest Florida.

In another transaction, Dream Maker acquired the rights to Orlando, Fla.-based Leisure Bay Industries' rotationally molded spa, the Eclipse.

NPC Will Hold Conference in San Antonio

The National Plasterers Council will hold its national conference Feb. 2628 in San Antonio.

Conference fee is $160 for members and hotel rooms are available at the Sheraton Gunther for $119 per night. For more information, contact NPC at 866/483-4672, ext. 12, or visit npconline.com.

Woven Casual Furniture Firms Merge

Whitecraft Rattan, North Charleston, S.C., has merged with Cebu Imports, Ladson, S.C., to form Whitecraft Inc.

The new company, which will be based in North Charleston, aims to lead the field in indoor and outdoor woven casual furniture, including natural and synthetic wicker and rattan.

"The combined resources of these two great companies will revitalize the Whitecraft brand," says Lou Rosebrook, who assumed leadership of both companies in the summer of 2003 and now serves as president of Whitecraft Inc.

Ferno To Sell To Builders

Ferno Performance Pools, a fiberglass pool manufacturer based in Wilmington, Ohio, recently announced that it will be selling its pools directly to pool builders.

Previously the company sold directly to consumers through regional sales managers.

Hayward Sells Aqualeader

Hayward Pool Products, Elizabeth, N.J., entered into an agreement to sell the assets of above-ground pool manufacturer Aqualeader to Crystal Water Investments for an undisclosed amount.

Crystal Water Investments is headed by Steve Cohen, president and owner of Wil-Bar International, which manufactures Sharkline Pools.

Hayward says it sold Aqualeader as part of its commitment to refocusing its efforts on its core swimming pool business.

Commercial Unit For Arch Chemicals

Arch Chemicals has established a separate business unit to pursue growth opportunities in the commercial swimming pool market.

Stephen Heard has been appointed national sales manager for the Commercial Water Business and Valerie Henshaw will serve as the senior marketing director.

Headquartered in Norwalk, Conn., Arch Chemicals is a global specialty chemical company with approximately $1 billion in annual sales. Arch maintains about 3,000 employees and has manufacturing facilities in North America, South America, Europe, Asia and Africa.

New Members Of NPC Board

The National Plasterers Council appointed five national board members to serve through Feb. 28, 2004. Jana Auringer, Randy Dukes, Robert Burkett, Kirk Chapman and Skip Hawkins were chosen.

IAPMO Calls For Codes

In accordance with the 2006 UPC/UMC code change cycle, the International Association of Plumbing & Mechanical Officials' Standards Council has issued a call for proposals.

To submit code-change proposals, visit iapmo.org before 5:00 p.m. Pacific time, Feb. 1, 2004. For more information, call 909/472-4100.

Victory International Saves Vernon Plastics

Victory Plastics International has reopened the doors of Vernon Plastics, ending a three-month shut-down of the 45-year-old plastics manufacturer. Victory, headed up by Blair McIntosh and Mark Delaney, purchased the assets of Vernon Plastics for an undisclosed amount.

According to Delaney, 225 people lost their jobs when bankrupt parent firm, Imperial Home Decor Group shuttered the Haverhill, Mass., company July 16, 2003, after unsuccessful attempts to find a buyer.

Victory Plastics International, which will operate the business as Vernon Plastics, has rehired approximately 40 of the laid-off employees, and has plans for continued growth. Vernon currently offers five patented products, including Xtreme, a patented formula that provides UV and chemical resistance for swimming pool liners. The 172,000-square-foot manufacturing and warehouse facility will also house corporate headquarters.

MacIntosh explained in a press release that the reopening of Vernon was made possible by the collaboration of several state and city agencies, including the Haverhill mayor's office, The Greater Haverhill Foundation, Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney, and the state's economic development office.

McIntosh also owns Beckwith Bemis, a Canadian manufacturer of polymerand adhesive-coated fabrics. Delaney says there are no plans for merging the two companies.

Anthony & Sylvan Announces Q3 Results

Anthony & Sylvan Corporation, Mayfield Village, Ohio, has announced results for its third quarter, which ended Sept. 30, 2003. Net sales for the quarter were $61.8 million, a 31.6 percent increase from the $46.9 million for the same period a year ago. Net income of continuing operations was $2.8 million, or $0.53 per diluted share, compared with $1.4 million, or $0.26 per diluted share in 2002.

For the nine months ended Sept. 30, the company showed revenues of $139.3 million, an 8.6 percent increase over the $128.2 million it reported for the same period last year. Net income from continuing operations was $2.2 million, or $0.42 per diluted share, compared with 2.7 million, or $0.49 per diluted share a year ago.

The company ended operations in two Florida markets in 2002, and the financial results of these markets were reported as discontinued operations.

Giant Distributor Reports Giant Quarter  

SCP Pool Corporation, Covington, La., reported net sales for the three months ended Sept. 30, 2003, of $337.6 million, a 17 percent increase over the $288.8 million it reported for the same period in 2002.

Gross profits for the period was $92.2 million, a 23 percent increase over gross profits of $75.1 million for the third quarter of 2002.

Operating expenses in the quarter increased 20 percent to $60.9 million, while operating expenses as a percentage of net sales increased from 17.5 percent in 2002 to 18 percent in 2003. Company officials attribute this increase to the company's acquisition of Fort Wayne Pools, where it says operating expenses are typically higher.

Net sales for the nine months ended Sept. 30 increased 17 percent to $824.2 million.

"Our favorable results are due to continued improvement in our execution of our marketing and sales programs supported by strong consumer demand and reasonable weather conditions," says SCP president and CEO Manuel Perez de la Mesa.

SCP is the world's largest distributor of swimming pool supplies and related products, with 195 service centers in North America and Europe.

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