French Connection Reaps Global Rewards

Cocktail parties and evening events helped create an upbeat atmosphere at the combined Piscine and Aqualie shows in Lyon.

They promoted it as the event you cannot afford to miss. Lyon Piscine and Aqualie 2012, two benchmark exhibitions for swimming pool and spa professionals certainly lived up to that billing. Simply put, the Lyon exhibition event is the biggest and most important global show for the combined pool and spa sectors. It brings together 600 exhibitors, 1,000 brands from 90 countries and in the region of 18,000 visitors to Lyon. Traditionally, the first opportunity to see new developments in Europe, the combined Piscine and Aqualie 2012 events are also an exceptional opportunity to explore the latest key trends in the pool and spa markets.

Keith Glass, of Triogen UK donned his tartan kilt to make sure the Glasgow-based Triogen team stood out from the crowd.


Held for four consecutive days, every two years, alternating with the Spanish show in Barcelona, Piscine attracts companies from 25 countries were represented at this year’s exhibition with 35% of visitors from outside France. This year, the exhibition brought together 1,000 brands and over 100 new product launches. Awards for product innovations side shows, cocktail parties and evening events helped create an upbeat atmosphere. There are an estimated six million pools in Europe with global pool sales rising fastest in those countries where purchasing power is going up, such as India, Brazil, some Asian countries, Russia, and some Middle Eastern countries. With a total of 1.5 million pools built in 2011, the dream of being a home pool owner is already a reality for 14% of French households with a house and garden.* The pool market in France is the second largest in the world (after the USA) and French knowhow in this field is internationally-recognised. Over the course of the year, sector turnover increased by 6.5% and the number of pools ordered went up by 6% compared with 2010. The number of pools built increased by 3.5% compared to the previous year, amounting to nearly 70,000 for the year 2011, 33,500 in-ground pools and 35,300 above-ground pools. The number of family pools in France increased by 4.5% in 2011 compared with 2010, reaching a total in excess of 1.6 million, with 972,700 in-ground pools and 633,500 above-ground pools. Some 4,550 companies are involved in the French pool market. In 2011, they employed 28,250 people and generated a turnover of $1.5 billion. Amongst these companies, 350 manufacture and distribute $400 million worth of equipment on a business to business basis and 4,200 sell pools and services directly to consumers. Of the latter, 2,500 are specialised; they make more than 30% of their $881 million turnover selling pools.

One of several companies exhibiting under a Great Britain banner, Darren Waters from Spafix has been taking French conversation lessons in preparation for the major Lyon pool and spa event.



Pictured at the recent Lyon show, Bob Lauter, CEO of Master Spas says swim spas have helped boost disappointing hot tub sales.

Master Spas, creators of the Signature Spas by Michael Phelps swim spa range, are still basking in the wake of the surge of publicity surrounding Phelps’ record-breaking London 2012 Games appearance. “Having a name like Michael on board has been great for us,” said Master Spas CEO Bob Lauter, speaking at the Lyon show, who said swim spas had helped boosts disappointing hot tub sales. “Michael’s goal was to be the greatest swimmer of all time – and he achieved that. “He was not just putting his name on something; he trained in the swim spa on a regular basis for the Olympics, it was how he refined his stroke and technique,” said Bob. “Now Phelps’ is concentrating on his charitable foundation and growing the sport of swimming while his coach, Bob Bowman, is still using the swim spa at his training facility to train younger swimmers,” explains Bob, who says the success of the swim spas have really helped even out the economic downturn in hot tubs. “Although a lot of places are still hurting, we are seeing many regions where there are significant signs of a rebound. We are very encouraged by what we are seeing,” he added.


Master Spas Europe


Newlyweds Simon and Vicky Wrigglesworth were part of the Artesian team at this year’s Lyon Piscine show.



Tony Keogh, left, and David Reynolds, right, are expanding the Aquazzi spa brand coverage branch across the UK and Eire.


Self confessed Internet geek David Reynolds and third generation pool builder Tony Keogh have combined forces to take on the distribution of the Aquazzi brand of spas across the UK and Eire. The pair was at Lyon to begin having conversations with prospective retailers of the five ranges of Aquazzi spas. A superior Chinese brand, the company is one of the fastest growing businesses in the spa sector. With a solid foundation in Asia, Aquazzi now boasts 75 showrooms across France and have just launched in Italy, Sweden and Russia. David and Tony store quick ship stock in a bonded warehouse in the UK and are looking to improve on bespoke order times currently around nine weeks. Particularly Internet savvy, the pair work out of a garden centre show site in Essex but are actively looking for outlets in Surrey and Wales as well as seeking distributor and dealer networks throughout theUK and Eire. “Our number one objective is not selling to end-consumer but to set up a distribution network in the UK,” says David. “We spent nearly three years trying to find the right product and we are delighted to be the UK and Eire representatives of such a strong worldwide Aquazzi team. “One of the challenges we face is overcoming the prejudice associated with Chinese spas,” says David. “We recognise there are still going to be poor products on the market, some from China, but the quality of these and several other Chinese spas has got so much better, in fact Aquazzi offers the same certification as the biggest brands in the industry.”


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Waterco Europe put on a strong display of its filters, pumps and accessories and were rewarded with a busy stand at the recent Lyon Piscine show.


John Antretter was in Lyon to help build the Pleatco reputation for quality and integrity.



The Pleatco team were at Lyon to help build on their long term brand presence. “Pleatco always has something to offer because the market recognise, we are an engineering driven company, founded on quality,” explains John Antretter, co-owner of Pleatco. “We are a filtration company working alongside key original engineering manufacturing companies like Master Spas, Dynasty, Hydropool, Coast Spas and others to maximise filtration. “What we are all about is clean, healthy water. If the market wants the highest quality filters, they are going to buy Pleatco.