Media Releases

Statement of Preliminary Issues released for Rhone/Fluidra swimming pool equipment merger

16 February 2018

The Commerce Commission has published a Statement of Preliminary Issues relating to Rhone Capital LLC’s (Rhone) proposed acquisition of Fluidra S.A. (Fluidra).

Rhone is a New York-based private equity firm that owns a number of entities, including the Zodiac group of companies, who supply a range of swimming pool equipment globally. In New Zealand, Zodiac imports and distributes a range of equipment used in residential pools, including pumps, filters, cleaners, heating, and automation systems. It also manufactures a range of residential pool covers in Auckland.

Rhone is seeking clearance to acquire Fluidra, a global manufacturer of residential and commercial swimming pool equipment based in Spain. Fluidra does not have a manufacturing presence in New Zealand but supplies a range of pool equipment, primarily under the brand name AstralPool, through a New Zealand-based distributor, Aqua Clear Products Limited.

The statement outlines the key competition issues that the Commission considers important in deciding whether or not to grant clearance to the proposed merger. A copy can be found on the Commission’s Clearances Register.

The Commission invites interested parties to provide comments on the likely competitive effects of the proposed acquisition. Submissions can be sent by email to registrar@comcom.govt.nz with the reference “Rhone/Fluidra” in the subject line. Any submissions should be received by close of business on Friday 2 March 2018.

Background

When considering a proposed merger, the Commission must determine whether any competition that would be lost with the merger would be substantial. We will give clearance to a proposed merger only if we are satisfied that the merger is unlikely to have the effect of substantially lessening competition in a market. A fact sheet explaining how the Commission assesses a merger application is available on the clearances page.