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Fluidra Targets Asset Sales to Tap Growth in Latin America, Asia

Fluidra SA, a Spanish water-treatment company, plans to carry out “small” asset sales in Europe this year and focus on growing markets in Latin America and Asia, Chief Financial Officer Xavier Tintore said.

Fluidra wants to streamline operations in mature European markets such as Spain while it expects “big business growth coming from Latin America and Asia in the coming quarters,” Tintore said today in a phone interview. “We’ll also try to develop our latest acquisitions in Brazil and China.”

The Sabadell-based company reported a first-quarter net loss of 2.2 million euros ($2.9 million) compared with a 1.3 million-euro profit a year earlier. “We expect to return to profitability in the second and third quarters after suffering from exceptionally bad weather in March,” Tintore said. “In April, our business was already more stable.”

Fluidra, a maker of swimming-pool products, is facing strong competition in southern Europe as well as its home market, where consumption is falling with unemployment at 27 percent.

After buying the Brazilian swimming-pool products company Veico in February, Fluidra doesn’t plan more purchases in the short term, he said.

Fluidra shares fell 1.9 percent to 2.36 euros at 2:45 p.m. in Madrid, valuing the company at 265 million euros. Gross margins shrank to 51 percent from 52.2 percent a year earlier, the company reported in today’s results. “We don’t forecast a further deterioration of margins this year,” Tintore said.

Founded in 1969, Fluidra has diversified from swimming pools to treatment of drinking water and industrial wastewater, hydrotherapy equipment for spas, irrigation systems, valves and drains. Its shares have risen 15 percent the past year.

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