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Freedom’s talent pool pays off

AN already lucrative European market could become even more profitable for Freedom Pools if its Spanish manufacturing operation plans come to fruition.

Bob Biernat, who owns the 32-year-old family business with his wife, Rona, said negotiations on the new operation were progressing.

“That [Spanish facility] could double our business,” he told WA Business News.

Freedom Pools already boasts a $35 million turnover and has markets in Asia, Europe and Australia.

Exports account for about 30 per cent of Freedom Pools’ annual turnover.

If the Spanish operation gets off the ground it will take responsibility for the burgeoning European orders and the Western Australian base will manage the Australian and Asian demand.

Freedom’s Kenwick headquarters currently manages all of its operations, including its offices in South Australia and Queensland.  The latter is run by the Biernats’ daughter.

However, even with the prospect of expanding its European business and the potential revenues that will flow from that, Mr Biernat said he was still prepared to keep the business family owned.

He admitted the family had toyed with the idea of floating the company on the Australian Stock Exchange.

“At the moment I’d rather keep it in the family,” Mr Biernat said.

Another step he has ruled out is moving into the US market.

“I haven’t concentrated on the US market, even though there is demand from there, because of legal complications,” Mr Biernat said.

“Our insurance company said any move into the US would mean a doubling of our insurance premiums because of product liability.”

Freedom is one of the largest pool manufacturers in Australia – competing with another Western Australian pool manufacturer, Aqua Technics.

The Biernat family also controls a separate business, Freedom Tanks, a link back to the company’s origins, which manufactures water and liquid fertiliser storage tanks for farmers.

Those tanks have been developed in conjunction with CSBP to cart and store liquid nitrogen-based fertilisers used in broadacre farming.

Freedom Pools started in Narrogin in the 1970s as a business manufacturing tanks for the local farmers.

 

Entry forms for the 2004 Family Business Awards are available from www.familybizawards.com.au

Freedom Pools has become a sponsor of the 2004 Family Business Awards.

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