Capital Calls: Private pools boom



(The author is a Reuters Breakingviews columnist. The opinions expressed are their own.)

NEW YORK (Reuters Breakingviews) - Concise insights on global finance.


DEEP DIVE. As symbols of social fragmentation go, it’s hard to beat the backyard swimming pool. Pool Corp, a distributor, on Thursday reported record first-quarter sales of $1.1 billion, a third above what analysts polled by Refinitiv had expected. The $17 billion company’s shares have almost doubled since before the pandemic.

That such businesses are doing well in an era marked by time spent at home and fear of contagion is no surprise. Hayward, a U.S. maker of pool equipment, listed in March with a bubbly enterprise value of 5 times estimated sales. There’s pent-up demand too – Americans built 94,000 pools in 2020, well up on 2019 but still below the long-term average of 113,000 a year, according to data in Hayward’s initial public offering prospectus

Private pools are booming partly because savings have piled up for the wealthy and home prices have risen, increasing overall inequality. Building a watery playground is a way to spend those gains, but also a way to keep the swimming masses at a distance. Pool Corp’s success is a thrill for investors, but a troubling sign of the post-pandemic zeitgeist. (By John Foley)

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Earlier in Capital Calls:

The less flashy end of green investing

American Airlines lightens the losses

Europe IPOs get a qualified tech boost

Canberra looks game for more brawling with Beijing

Time to put Hermès’ cash pile to use

(SIGN UP FOR BREAKINGVIEWS EMAIL ALERTS:; | Editing by Richard Beales and Amanda Gomez)

The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.


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