Interview with José Javier Peñalver Gil, General Manager of DIASA INDUSTRIAL
“Today’s clients are looking for convenience in the use of their swimming pools”
Diasa Industrial is a La Rioja-based company in the chemical sector which for more than 40 years has specialised in the research, development, production and commercialisation of chemical products for numerous sectors, including water treatment and swimming pool maintenance. It has added new accessories and products for fitting out aquatic facilities to its catalogue under the DPool brand which has turned it into a global supplier of swimming pool solutions. We talked to José Javier Peñalver, the general manager of Diasa Industrial since 2013.
How would you evaluate the evolution of the swimming pool market in Spain over this first six-month period? Would you say that the recovery that started in 2015 is becoming consolidated?
Definitely, you can see a clear recovery. Above all you can appreciate a lot more peace of mind when trade professionals place their orders. We have finally lost that fear of not knowing what’s going to happen this year. However, we still need to see a recovery in the sale prices of swimming pool sector products, which plummeted during the years of the crisis with the competition from large retail establishments. The sector needs to regain more reasonable margins and prices along with its distribution chain, which was also destroyed in the crisis. Over this period many manufacturers sold their products directly to the end consumer and this practice has been very damaging to the sector. The distribution channel is very important to Diasa Industrial and in contrast to other companies we have always respected it.
For Diasa Industrial, 2015 was a spectacular year in terms of sales, with growth of close to 40%. In 2016 we decided to consolidate those sales and increase our margins. And now we’re seeing that 2017 is going to be another year of growth for the sector and for our company. We’re expecting to increase sales by 25%, achieving a turnover of close to 20 million euros, which establishes us in the third positon in the sector. We still need to continue working towards our horizon of 2020, when according to our business plan we hope to achieve a turnover of 50 million euros, which will put us in second position in the Spanish swimming pool market.
Diasa Industrial has been committed to internationalisation for many years now. Which are the most important export destinations? Are you hoping to make valuable contacts with buyers from other countries at Piscina & Wellness Barcelona?
Without a doubt, internationalisation is one of the driving forces behind the future growth of the company. In the last five years, we have gone from exports accounting for just 5% of our turnover to the 25% they represent at present. Our goal is to get our foreign sales up to 50% of our turnover by 2020. We are particularly targeting Europe, with clear growth in France and Germany where we already have distribution warehouses and business partners. However, we are currently selling products in 42 countries worldwide. Obviously one of the reasons for attending the Barcelona trade show is due to the high numbers of international buyers with whom we hope to make contact. Our goal is to consolidate our European business and grow in the Far East, North Africa and South America.
Diasa Industrial specialises in water treatments, although you have also added equipment solutions for swimming pool maintenance to your portfolio. In your view, what are the main trends driving innovation today in the swimming pool sector?
Without a doubt, the automation of water treatment processes and new systems that allow the end client to control the state of their swimming pool wherever they are using mobile devices. In this case, Diasa Industrial distributes different systems for this purpose. Another clear trend is sustainability, which affects every single sector, including swimming pools. The end customer is looking for healthier and less aggressive water treatments. In this respect, Diasa is completely innovative with its Biowater system.
What are the most effective methods for disinfecting swimming pool water? What determines whether someone uses one system or another?
Despite the rapid adoption of salt-water electrolysis, disinfection with chlorine is still the most effective method today. This is so much the case that even electrolysis has chlorine as an end product for water disinfection. Diasa Industrial manufactures and sells different chlorinated solutions such as Multi-Action tablets, Dpool Gel, etc. A brand new alternative disinfection system, which I predict will have a great future in the private swimming pool sector, is water treatment with oxygen, which is very suitable for people with allergic reaction problems. In this respect we market EcoSwim.
What innovations and equipment would you recommend to a swimming pool owner to guarantee optimum water quality at all times and an excellent user experience?
Today’s customers are looking for convenience in the use of their pool. In this respect, Diasa sells the Dpool Master robot which, apart from its power and totally new design, can be controlled from a smartphone or tablet. You can also use these devices to control the parameters of the Dpool water treatment system. We are also the exclusive distributor of the new heat pumps from the Fairland brand which offer the highest energy performance per kilowatt consumed. We would also recommend another brand new product: FIbalon, the filter medium with the biggest capacity on the market.
Diasa Industrial has set in motion various innovative projects, including the Biowater Pure System (pool safety) which started in 2014 and has European funding. What have been the results and what benefits does it offer?
Diasa has R&D in its DNA. The company started off in a laboratory and in its 42 years of history it has driven numerous products on a European level and collaborates with the universities of La Rioja and Navarra and the CDTi. The Biowater Pure System is a project to eliminate isocyanuric acid from swimming pool water. We are putting an end to the problem that this residue represents in public swimming pools in towns, hotels, etc. This helps to avoid working with liquid chlorine, which is difficult to handle and store, and minimises the risk of it coming into contact with other substances such as hydrochloric acid which is sometimes used to lower the pH in pools. We have been developing different projects in this area since 2000 and we have finally hit on the right solution. The long wait and hard work have all been worth it. The Biowater Pure System was presented in Madrid and has aroused a lot of interest among clients and public authorities thanks to the advantages it offers as the best available technology. At Piscina & Wellness Barcelona it will be exhibited on our stand and visitors can check out its excellent results for themselves. By 2018 we will be marketing it across Europe.
Can you give us an idea of some of the new products you will be presenting at Piscina & Wellness Barcelona this October?
There will be a lot of new products, though some of them I can’t reveal just yet, but the big star of our stand will unquestionably be the Biowater Pure System.