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    Fluidra is once again participating in the upcoming edition of Piscina & Wellness Barcelona, reaffirming its position as one of the leading global brands. The multinational group operates in over 47 countries through its subsidiaries, with more than 135 commercial branches and over 35 production centers worldwide. They will be presenting many exclusive innovations, especially in the areas of user comfort, sustainability, and connectivity. We discuss these topics and the trends driving the industry with David Méndez, General Manager of Fluidra Distribution in Europe, the Middle East, Africa, and South America.

    David Méndez, EMEA Commercial Director of Fluidra.

    1. What is your assessment of the current state of the pool industry following the pandemic?

    After a period of strong growth, the industry is now in a process of returning to normalcy. The macroeconomic environment remains uncertain, but the increase in the global pool market over the past three years, the reactivation of tourism, and the trend of enjoying outdoor spaces give us confidence for continued growth in the medium and long term.

    2. What are your expectations for 2023?

    Although we anticipate some market adjustment due to the sector’s normalization after a period of strong growth, Fluidra is currently a stronger company. We have expanded our product portfolio in North America, expanded our distribution network in Europe, and improved our commercial pool offerings. Additionally, we are working towards becoming a more efficient organization to better serve our customers. For the year as a whole, we expect sales between 2,000 and 2,200 million and an EBITDA between 410 and 480 million.

    3. Will you continue this expansion strategy for your network in the future?

     Expanding the distribution network and opening new logistics centers in Europe are important pillars of Fluidra’s strategy to provide better service to our customers. We firmly believe in the need to be a one-stop purchasing point for our customers with optimal delivery service. Our focus remains on creating value for the customer, which is always present in our decisions, the quality of our products and services, and our commitment to pool connectivity and sustainability.

     4. In your goal of promoting innovation, Fluidra has launched the new Fluidra LAB website. What does this open innovation model consist of, and what are its objectives?

    Fluidra LAB is the Open Innovation and Corporate Venturing program responsible for identifying, analyzing, and responding to all internal company needs, as well as exploring new technologies and business models in the industry. It serves as a meeting point between the company’s business units and external innovation agents.

    The program covers four areas of interest: sustainability, safety and well-being, customer experience, and digitization. Sustainability is a top priority and cross-cutting strategy for the entire company, with one of the main objectives being to make the pool a system with neutral environmental impact.

    Therefore, if you are part of the global innovation ecosystem (startups, research centers, universities, etc.) and have a proposal that can impact our challenges, we are ready to collaborate with you.

     5. You recently closed a deal to acquire Meranus Group, a pool equipment distributor in Germany. What do you hope to achieve with acquisitions like this? Are more acquisitions planned in the short term.

    This transaction will allow us to enhance our leadership position in the German market and offer a more comprehensive product portfolio to a broader customer base. Fluidra’s capital allocation policy remains intact, focusing on investing to grow the business, value-generating corporate operations, and consistent dividend policy.

    6. Connectivity is a key value in the industry. How are you working to provide solutions for a more connected pool?

    From our interest in connectivity and sustainability arises the concept of the Smart pool, our goal of creating a smarter, automated, and efficient pool that enhances comfort and facilitates maintenance. Our range of sustainable products allows us to strengthen the foundations of our sustainability strategy for the future, which we will continue to work on.

    Fluidra has become the global leader in the pool industry with a wider range of connected products and top digital brands in the market. Pool connectivity is a key factor in adding value to the user experience and our clients’ businesses, as it allows them to monitor and control their pool remotely through the internet.

    7. What do you think customers are increasingly demanding in current and future pools?

     Pools are associated with moments of enjoyment, learning, sports, and health. When I think of the pool of the future, I envision those same moments having a positive impact on the environment and our pools becoming an important element in the fight to preserve water as a basic human resource. Our customers are becoming increasingly informed and demanding, with sustainability playing a significant role in their choices.

    8. Fluidra has been included for the first time in the 2023 Sustainability Yearbook by S&P. What is the company implementing to improve its environmental, social, and governance performance?

    If there is something we are particularly proud of, it is our ESG plan, Responsibility Blueprint 2020-2026. Through this plan, with equal parts humility and ambition, we aim to become global leaders in social, environmental, and governance responsibility, while contributing to the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals. In 2022, we achieved significant milestones such as a 25% reduction in carbon footprint in our operations, a 4% increase in the sale of sustainable products, and the launch of our Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion policy, among others.

    9. Can you give us a sneak peek of some of the innovations you will present at the Piscina & Wellness Barcelona trade show?

    At the upcoming Piscina & Wellness Barcelona in November, we plan to present many exclusive innovations, primarily in the areas of user comfort, sustainability, and connectivity.

    For example, new models of cordless robotic pool cleaners with advanced technology. Following the resounding success of our first cordless automatic robot, the Zodiac® FREERIDER™, we plan to expand the range by introducing new models with this wireless technology, along with other advanced features such as dual filtration capable of capturing particles up to 60 microns.

    Zodiac® FREERIDER™ Image courtesy of Fluidra

    Lighting also plays a leading role when it comes to user comfort. Therefore, we will present the new LumiPlus Plug & Play range with more advanced and intuitive control for end users, as well as the LumiPlus Flexi Connect range with integrated connectivity and smartphone control.

    In terms of sustainability, we will enhance the new range of variable-speed filtration pumps with integrated connectivity to provide maximum energy savings and full control of the pool’s filtration system. Finally, connectivity will be a prominent feature in all our innovations. An example of this is the new range of Z250iQ full inverter heat pumps with an A energy label (EN17645) and integrated connectivity.

    We also plan to showcase our full inverter solution with R290 refrigerant, which has minimal environmental impact (ODP=0, GWP=3). But all of this is just a small preview of what professionals can experience firsthand with our equipment during the fair. We have many more innovations to share!

    Cristina Benavides, collaborator of Piscina & Wellness Barcelona