Latham Pools could follow its competitors in the public stock market

At Latham Pools, designer and manufacturer of in-ground swimming pools, the last decade has been marked by traumatic events: the Great Recession and the coronavirus pandemic.

The former sent the longtime family business to bankruptcy court after the real estate market collapsed and banks tightened lending – neither ideal for expensive group buying. But the company entered Chapter 11 with an exit strategy in hand and emerged just a month later – in time for the industry’s major 2010 pre-season trade show.

In contrast, the pandemic has given an unexpected boost to the outdoor economy sector, including pool installers and manufacturers, like Latham Pools, who supply them. A trade group reported in February that the strong demand for backyard swimming pools seen in 2020 will continue this year, with installation dates already booked in late 2021 and early 2022.

On a related note or not, two pool companies have just dipped a toe into the public stock market, and Latham Pools is preparing to do the same.

Leslie’s Inc., parent company of spa and pool retailer Leslie’s Swimming Pool Supplies, went public in October. Pool equipment maker Hayward Pool Products did just that last month.

Latham Pools, meanwhile, filed a registration statement with regulators last week with the intention of offering and trading shares under the ticker symbol SWIM as Latham Group Inc.

Although the details of the offer remain to be clarified, Latham Group would operate as a “controlled company” under the market rules, as more than 50% of the voting rights of its share would be held by two private equity firms with large holdings in the company. , Pamplona Capital Management and Wynnchurch Capital. (A range of these companies have been involved since the company went out of bankruptcy.)

Financial information that Latham Group filed with its registration statement indicates that last year’s sales totaled $ 403.4 million, up from nearly $ 318 million in 2019. Net profit was close to $ 16 million. last year, up from $ 7.5 million in 2019.

The company, founded in 1956 and headquartered at Northway Exit 5 in Latham, claims it is the largest designer, manufacturer and distributor of residential inground swimming pools in North America, Australia and New Zealand – and the sole operator of in-ground swimming pools. coast-to-coast in the United States, pools account for about 60 percent of sales; liners and blankets also divide the remaining 40 percent.

The company touts its fiberglass pools as having “a significant growth track” due to underpenetration in this country – just 18 percent of all US facilities last year were fiberglass versus 40 percent. cent in Spain, for example.

A table in the registration statement compares the “owner’s economy” of the three main types of in-ground pools, with fiberglass costing about $ 54,000 up front, vinyl at $ 37,500, and concrete at $ 75,000. $.

For installers, fiberglass is faster to install and requires less labor, resulting in more installations per year and a lot more profit, says Latham Group.

Marlene Kennedy is a freelance columnist. The opinions expressed in his column are his own and not necessarily those of the newspaper. Reach her at [email protected]

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