In February 2019, De Nora announced the acquisition of MIOX Corp., an Albuquerque-based electrochemical expert. Five months later, Bryan Brownlie, managing director of De Nora Water Technologies Texas LLC, answered some of the key questions about the rationale for the acquisition and the changes that have happened since.
Can you give us an overview of the reasons for the acquisition of MIOX Corp.?
De Nora had been a technology partner with MIOX, providing the cell plates for their products for many years, and we had been working together on joint R&D almost as long. With that kind of a long-standing relationship, it made sense to look at ways to cement the partnership, and an acquisition was the shortest route to the goal line. The key driver was to broaden our offering in onsite brine electro-chlorination to provide our customers with the exact solution that they need in terms of footprint and output. On top of providing the mixed oxidant solution, the MIOX product range had a lot of features we wanted to bring into our wider product offerings, including self-cleaning, smaller capacity units, and a great product feel. We are excited to be rationalizing the lines over time to bring those features to our entire range so that our customers can benefit from them. Last, but by no means least, we knew that the MIOX team includes some extremely talented people and bringing them into the De Nora family was something we were very excited about.
What has happened in the past five months since the acquisition?
It has been an exciting five months. The priority was to bring the MIOX team together with the team within De Nora, making sure that everyone was made to feel welcome, and that everyone knew the path forward and how they would be working together. Simultaneously, we have been working with our customers and channels to ensure that there is seamless ongoing support for them, and there was no interruption to their service. We’ve also commenced the process of transitioning the Albuquerque, NM, facility into our global product center, getting the day-to-day operations transferred over to our Sugar Land, Texas, facility so the MIOX team can really focus on getting more great products in the hands of our customers. That process has been going extremely well, and it’s been fantastic to see the teams becoming one team so quickly. It’s also been great to see the team come together to solve challenges for our customers and keep equipment moving out the door and into their hands.
How are the product lines effected by the changes – are you still offering the same range?
The key focus for us is to make sure that this acquisition strengthens and broadens the product ranges for our customers, bringing a ‘best of both worlds’ solutions to the market. We understand that there are different needs in different markets, and that our customers have unique needs, so it was critical for us to keep bringing the mixed oxidant solution to the market, along with the high efficiency sodium hypochlorite solutions. We took a close look at the 0.8% sodium hypochlorite line and rationalized it to bring the most cost-effective solution at each size range to the forefront. The result of this careful consolidation is the new ClorTec line, the first step in bringing the ‘best of both’ to the market. For now, we are keeping the mixed oxidant line essentially as is, and it will continue to be called the MIOX product range. In time, we’ll be seeing some features from ClorTec finding its way into the MIOX range, and vice versa, to give our customers exactly what they need in the field.
Are you looking to make changes to the offering?
In the short term, no, but of course, since we now have the best engineers and technology developers and R&D in the market, we will combine these efforts to continuously improve and innovate the line. So, the market can expect to see new products, features, and user enhancements in the near future, and won’t have long to wait. I don’t want to ruin any surprises, but we have some big announcements planned for WEFTEC this year in Chicago, and we’re excited to see the market reaction to them.
Are you closing the Albuquerque office?
No. The Albuquerque office is already in the process of being transitioned into the Global Product Center for De Nora Water Technologies, and the plan is to grow that capability over the coming few months. This will give us a dedicated hub for product development, with a great foundation in the form of a team that has already brought innovations such as self-cleaning solutions, in situ acid cleaning approaches to our customers.
Will we have the same regional contacts?
Our most critical priority in all of this was to make sure there was absolutely no lapse in how the customers were served. We made minimal changes in terms of regional contacts – and where changes were made, we communicated with all impacted customers immediately, so they’d always know how to reach us.
What about service?
All service personnel whether ClorTec or MIOX will remain. We are currently conducting cross-training so we can leverage the larger service organization regardless of product line. Customers will receive the best service and support in the industry as a result of the combined force.
If all proposal generation is moving to Sugar Land, do they have enough people? Will response times suffer?
First, there have been no reductions in force during this process, and we have none planned moving forward. As a result, the proposals capability within the MIOX team is unimpacted. Moving that function to Sugar Land is intended to enhance service levels by bringing them into a core team with access to a broader array of tools, as well as bringing some best practices from the MIOX side into the wider De Nora fold globally. For sure, with our growth objectives, and with our new capabilities, we’ll be adding people as we need them to ensure that our customers always receive the first-rate service they’ve become used to when they work with De Nora.