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Watkins acquires American Hydrotherapy Systems

Hot tub manufacturer adds rotationally molded spa business to expand selection

Watkins Manufacturing has acquired the assets of American Hydrotherapy Systems (AHS), manufacturer of Freeflow Spas and a leader in the rotationally molded spa and business category.

With the purchase of Ontario, Calif.-based AHS, Watkins adds roto-molded Freeflow Spas to its portfolio of spa brands that includes Caldera Spas and HotSpring Spas. Terms of the transaction were not disclosed.

"The addition of Freeflow Spas to our family of quality hot tub brands fits perfectly with our consumer strategy to deliver the right products to the right markets at the right prices," said Steve Hammock, president of Watkins Manufacturing. "We want our Watkins-brand retailers, whenever possible, to be a one-stop-shop in fulfilling the hot water relaxation needs of today's discriminating consumer. Integrating this quality selection of Freeflow Spas products into our retail offering will allow shoppers to get the hot tub they want from us, whether they choose an entry-level model or the most premium spa."

"Our business was not ‘overtly for sale,' but Watkins presented us with an interesting opportunity we simply had to consider," said Bob Gawlik, general manager, American Hydrotherapy Systems. "Over the years, many other companies have approached us. But Watkins, an icon in our industry, was the first suitor that we believed would perpetuate what we have worked so hard to build in a manner we think will honor the company's values."

"Over the years, we've been very impressed with the product offering developed by, and the integrity of, the AHS team," Hammock said. Over the next several quarters, the AHS business will transition to Watkins worldwide headquarters in Vista, Calif. "Watkins celebrated the manufacturing of our one millionth hot tub in September 2011, and together with this strategic acquisition of AHS, we believe we are positioned for continued growth in the future," he said.

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