Swimming Pool Maker Sees a Lift in Pandemic Staycations

(Bloomberg) --

Owners preparing their swimming pools for long periods of use as they sit out the coronavirus pandemic may boost business for Spain’s Fluidra SA.

“People are trying to open their pools earlier and think about how to expand their use both now and in the fall, knowing that they’re not going to travel as much,” Bruce W. Brooks, chief executive officer of the world’s biggest swimming pool equipment maker and servicer, said in an interview. “We’re seeing a spike in demand for heaters and disinfection products to maintain the water safe and clean.”

After sales plunged by a fifth in April, Fluidra now sees a boost from a “cocooning effect” as more clients opt to stay home by their pools, said Brooks. After-market maintenance of about 16 million residential pools accounts for about two thirds of revenue for the Barcelona-based company, which, through its subsidiaries, operates in more than 40 countries beyond its core markets of the U.S., France and Spain.

Fluidra, like other companies, still faces an uncertain future as the pandemic pummels economic activity and restricts investment. The company withdrew its guidance for 2020 at the end of March. Shares are down 18% so far this year, in line with declines in the STOXX Europe 600 Index.

Even so, the pandemic may also be spurring construction of new pools as some clients invest in the facilities they need to make life at home comfortable, Brooks said.

The growth rate for above-ground pools in Germany, where the lockdown been relatively less restrictive, is double what it was a year ago, he said.

“It will take a long time for travel and some of the service businesses to come back and having a pool in your property adds value to it,” said Brooks.

©2020 Bloomberg L.P.

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