The FINANCIAL — Stereotypes are lazy thoughts: we do not need to listen or observe as we feel we know all about “that” topic already; except we do not – we just have a head full of prejudices.
And yet, there are some notions that are never disputed. For instance, the fact that swimming is a life skill that opens the doors to not only a healthy lifestyle but to a lot of fun stuff as well! Now that we have established that, we can dive into the swimming pools topic and unveil the players on the Georgian market and beyond. After all, the long-awaited summer heat wave has finally hit Tbilisi and we do need to cool our thoughts down somehow.
But before we do start presenting the players, let us state that prior to splashing out money on a private backyard or indoor swimming pool, you need to be reminded that just like anything else, swimming pools come in all diverse types, designs, sizes, shapes and are used for various purposes. Budget, available space size, local rules and availability of materials will all factor in to what type of pool you will eventually decide to install on your property.
Experto has approached practically all swimming pool providers in Georgia but we will only focus on three main players on the local market. Our first respondent, Mr. Vakhtang Meskhi is the Director of AQUALINE, established back in 2006. “Our main activities are the design and construction of swimming pools, saunas and SPA zones, as well as the installation of water treatment technologies” stated Mr. Meskhi. Since the establishment, they have implemented many projects in both private and public sectors: “Gained experience, our professional staff and the utilization of high quality products of leading swimming pool producers worldwide are the determinant factors of elevated level of trust our customers reward us with”.
AQUALINE closely observes the latest global trends in the construction of basins and water treatment technologies. “We try to make those innovative technologies available to the Georgian consumers in the shortest possible time. 97% of the products we offer to our customers is imported – about 72% from the European countries and 28% – from Turkey.”, revealed Vakhtang to Experto. AQUALINE represents many world leading brands in Georgia; besides, they have exclusive representation rights for: PROCOPI (France), PAHLEN (Sweden), MAYTRONICS (Israel), EMEC (Italy), CDECK (Portugal), DINOTEC (Germany), DAB (Italy), HASERV (Estonia), GEMAS (Turkey), SENTIOTEC (Austria), ECOSOFT (Germany/Ukraine). AQUALINE also offers the aftercare service to their consumers.
When asked about the size of the swimming pools market in Georgia, Mr. Meskhi told Experto that “unfortunately, we do not have any overall market stats, but if we look at our own numbers, there is a notable growth trend for sure. What concerns us the most is the shortage of qualified staff for the post-sale market. Taking care of a swimming pool requires very specific knowledge”. That is one of the reasons why AQUALINE decided to actively cooperate with professional technical institutions and training centers: “besides this, we also regularly train and retrain our staff and take care of their professional development”. He further elaborated that “we constantly work with our consumers as well and explain to them the benefits of innovative technologies. For instance, if previously all our customers used service personnel for disinfection of their swimming pools, now over 37% of them use the automatic dosing system that controls water quality, dosage of chemicals and ensures water disinfection”.
According to Mr. Meskhi’s assumptions, it will soon be trendy in Georgia as well to install pools that more and more resemble natural reservoirs and/or ponds: “we already have some customers that refuse to use standard blue colored coverings and select white, sand, gray and/or green coverings”. It is not only the case of colors. The director has noticed that while previously the price was the only determinant factor, now consumers are more conscious and self-aware of health-related aspects as well and care increasingly about getting the pools that comply with international safety standards: “of course, the standard requirements of our business customers (hotels, spa centers, commercial pools, etc.) are higher compared to those of individuals. We find it much easier to convince our business customers to implement novel technologies as their safety requirements are stricter and they have a higher footfall, thus higher responsibility towards their respective end-users” concluded Mr. Meskhi.
Our next respondent CMG Group has been operating on the Georgian market for the past five years. They offer a wide range of fiber glass products as well as a variety of composite materials needed for fiber glass production to Georgian consumers. CMG Group also produces boats, water bicycles, pools, manufacturing units and other products using fiber glass, which is an unprecedented case on the Georgian market.
Since 2015, they have been offering the Georgian brands of polyether CMG and FIBER PRO 1, produced by CMG’s own formula in one of the European factories in Germany. Mr. Gela Gelashvili, Director of CMG Group revealed to Experto that “we hope our products will end up being exported to Azerbaijan and Armenia in the nearest future. We have just started considering the matter”. He further elaborated that “this year we plan to manufacture fiberglass profiles, floors and fiber prefabricated bridges. The lack of needed investments is holding us back, even though we have the capabilities to upscale the production”. CMG imports products/materials mainly from Germany, China, Turkey, and USA. At this point, their export activities are in the exploratory phase only. The Director of CMG Group also had trouble assessing the size of the swimming pool market in Georgia: “besides, fiberglass pools are a novelty for Georgia. We launched the product this year only. So, it is hard for me to assess the precise demand levels for this type of pool. But the interest is definitely there”. Before fiberglass swimming pools, CMG was producing tanks for fish farms, but because of lack of demand they switched to swimming pools. “We are confident in the quality of our goods and stress that products made in Georgia can be good and competitive compared to the European products, with price being even more appealing” concluded the CMG representative.
Our third respondent is NOKI, the winner of Golden Brand 2016. Georgia’s leading swimming pool designer and constructor is actively involved in establishing standards on the market, offering the highest quality services to about 1000 customers already. According to Mr. Zurab Glonti, Director of NOKI, for the past several years, they have successfully built dozens of swimming pools and managed to nurture strong customer trust thanks to their well-mannered, professional, experienced and responsible staff that deliver projects on time and within the pre-agreed budget using quality materials.
NOKI has been operating on the Georgian market for about 15 years already: “we serve anyone that is interested in modern swimming pools, European standard materials and qualified service. Everything related to swimming pools falls within our competence”, told the director to Experto. NOKI is the official representative of the renowned Czech Vagner Pool in Georgia. Besides this, the company cooperates closely with Berndorf Baderbau, Europe’s premier stainless-steel pool manufacturer; BWT, Europe’s leading water technology company; IPC Group, offering pool and veranda roofing systems; Maper Glas, engineering a large pool of overhead roofing systems and facades; and Speck, specialized in swimming pool pump products. “Our suppliers are such famous brands as Kripsol; FIP; Saci Pumps; Pentair; Chemoform Group; Zodiac and many others”, further elaborated Mr. Glonti.
NOKI takes pride in helping customers select the design of a swimming pool that is best tailored to the personal needs of each customer; They get involved in all aspects related to swimming pools: design and construction, as well as carrying out hydro-isolation and pavement activities; installation of water filtering and heating systems; installation of water attractions, supplying of all possible accessories; selection and installation of pool roofing or cover construction; supplying of chemicals that control water quality; They are one of the few players on the market that provide warranty service as well.
The second week of July Experto will be hosting the representative of a prominent and well-established French producer of swimming pools with a trusted reference brand for more than 50 years. The Export Director of Desjoyaux, Mr. Alexandre Muela will be visiting Tbilisi for the first time to explore the opportunities Georgia has to offer. Desjoyaux is a pioneer and inventor of a unique concept: the in-ground pool within everyone’s reach: “In 1994, Desjoyaux pioneered the principle of swimming pools for all by marketing a standard model, suitable for water fun for the whole family. The private family pool has become the brand’s core activity, ranging basic kits ready to install to a fully equipped luxury pool”, explained the Export Director. Apparently, the concept is inspired by outboard engines and the exclusive Desjoyaux system has a completely pipe-less design. This eliminates the need for long and costly buried pipe-laying work and reduces the risk of leaks: “innovation makes life of our customers simpler. Our pipe-less filtration, a patented structure with no technical compartment, shoulders less risk of leaks. We offer a structure designed to be simple and safe to assemble – a unique concept that leaves room for pleasure, and nothing but pleasure”, elaborated enthusiastically the representative of the French company.
According to Mr. Muela, “the Desjoyaux swimming pool had become popular very quickly. It continues to be successful today, thanks to its simplicity, craftsman’s production values applied on an industrial scale, and the endless possibilities that it offers in terms of shapes, options, equipment, etc. Today Desjoyaux is the world’s leading manufacturer of concrete in-ground swimming pools, supplying pools on all 5 continents”. Over 210,000 families have already chosen Desjoyaux to design their space for holidays at home with the help of over 450 dealers in 80 countries.
“Already being present in the region for 20 years in countries such as Azerbaijan and Russia, it has become relevant for us to already zoom in on Georgia just as we focused in Kosovo, Moldova, and Iraq years ago. Considering the developments in the Horeca sector and the planned/ongoing projects in Georgia, we would want seize the opportunity to find a local partner and develop our network in order to cater to the future demand on swimming pools in the country”, explained candidly Mr. Alexandre Muela. He further revealed that “we are currently building the first Aquapark in West Bank, working on a project of 100 pools in Bagdad – Iraq”.
It seems, the private swimming pools market is booming as more and more people want to be able to enjoy their holiday at home. As I am finishing the final lines of the article and before I do get a swimming pool in my backyard, I will head to the nearest outdoor swimming pool right away. Do join me but only under one very stringent condition – do not forget to put on plenty of sunscreen to protect your exposed skin!