Bernd Sydow, CEO of MOG AG, looks back on a turbulent year and gives an outlook on the plans for 2017.
“It was a year of extremes and turmoil. At times, I felt I was taking two steps forward and one step back. There were always new surprises, in both coming to terms with MOG’s past and planning its future activities and areas of business. Ultimately, we are up to these challenges. Our team has become bigger, stronger and more self-assured. Our reputation with partners and customers has grown, and our basis for the future is now ideal.
We have strategically placed the focus of our business on Europe and have begun marketing in Germany, Austria and Switzerland, with Italy and Israel following very soon. We have also held talks with interested licensing partners in Canada, the USA, India and China. At the same time, we are preparing the NHS+ procedure’s market entry in Nigeria. We are concentrating on two business areas: the remediation of contaminated soils and the cleaning of railway track systems.
Finance and investors
With the audited balance sheets for 2014 and 2015, the financial past has been completely reassessed. The finances are in order. Our energies are now focused exclusively on the future. We are well prepared for this.
In recent months, we have held talks with interested investors and shareholders who would like to participate in the next capital increase. After a lot of homework, there is now highly gratifying interest in supporting the next phase of growth financially and operationally.
Team and locations
We have put together a strong sales team for the markets in Germany, Austria and Switzerland. In order to execute the acquired projects, we have brought further expertise on board by welcoming to our team Dr. Willian Menezes, Project Manager Cleaning Technologies. Dr. Sergey Seryy, our new Head of Research & Development, has rejoined the MOG Ukraine team, which he helped assemble in the company’s early days. He is supported by our new colleague Volodymyr Harkavenko.
We coordinate our activities in the EU’s German-speaking countries from Berlin, where we opened an office this past autumn. Working here alongside me are Oskar Lienemann, the assistant to the management, Dr. Willian Menezes and Sven Nagel, who is responsible for marketing and communications. This past summer, in tandem with our graphic designer, Andreas Prossliner, Mr. Nagel redesigned our logo and website, brought new form to our company brochure and presentation and developed our motto “Making the world a greener place.” The feedback on our new image is consistently positive.
At the Casali Institute in Jerusalem, our Head of Chemistry, Dr. Uri Stoin, has worked with Dr. Seryy and me to develop and define the focus of our research and development for the next twelve months. The NHS+ process has been further optimized, with the aim of continued reduction of the material used and increased effectivity.
In the summer, we reached an important milestone on a railway track in the Swiss town of Huttwil. The NHS+ procedure was tested for the rapid and sustainable decontamination of track beds. It removes grease, oils and diesel residue as well as herbicides and pesticides in the trackbed, without leaving its own residue. This was confirmed by the pilot project. We have gained valuable experience in the application and concentration of the chemical components and optimized our process flow. The evaluation of the laboratory results was accompanied by TÜV reports that certify very good cleaning results. We documented the pilot project in a short video, in which our experts explain the procedure in a practical and informative manner. The four minutes of film specifically demonstrate our approach to sustainable track bed cleaning.
In Rastatt, near the German city of Baden-Baden, approximately four million square meters of soil are contaminated with perfluorinated and polyfluorinated chemicals (PFC). Several wells for drinking water have been closed down. Environmental experts and the Baden-Württemberg Ministry of the Environment estimate the costs for complete remediation using conventional methods at several hundred million euros. The local authorities have offered us the prospect of a trial remediation, for which we could apply NHS+ on a smaller area. If the method proves to be effective, we can clean larger portions of the contaminated property.
In Austria, we presented our procedure to the environmental protection agency and a public enterprise called BALSA GmbH, which is responsible for contaminated properties. We secured the contract for a small, paid pilot project, which we plan to approach in the first quarter of 2017.
At the beginning of the coming year, we are also planning an extensive pilot project for Deutsche Bahn in southern Germany. All relevant departments of DB Netz AG are included in the operation. In close cooperation with the railway operator, Deutsche Bahn’s environmental services and technical service providers, we will gain further experience in the application of NHS+ on the track bed. Aspects to be optimized during this assignment include the cleaning depth in the ballast bed, the efficiency of the chemical reaction and the physical application of the chemical components.
We were able to win the company BCD, a subsidiary of the globally active Brenntag Group, as a significant, certified, European partner for the supply of chemicals needed for our operations.
The Austrian Plasser & Theurer GmbH is the global market leader in the construction of track bed cleaning and renewal machines. These giant machines—with lengths of more than one hundred meters—are also used by the German construction company STRABAG throughout Europe. We are currently discussing how we can integrate our NHS+ procedure to make the cleaning and renewal process faster and less expensive.
In addition to the talks with Austrian environmental authorities, meetings were held with the management of the Austrian Federal Railways. They showed great interest our procedure as well. A joint pilot project will be carried out on the Austrian railway network in the coming year.
We would like to enter the Italian market with the help of our shareholder Aequitrade. Together we are currently investigating the best situation to be able to complete transactions in Italy.
The German investment company Balaton is currently discussing a mutual commitment in the remediation of oil sludge within the scope of our current joint venture in Nigeria.
During our last visits to Jerusalem, we talked with two companies from the environmental technology sector, who would like to execute projects with us in Israel. We would like to carry out reference projects here and use the proximity to the University of Jerusalem and our R&D department at the Casali Institute.
India, China, Canada
We are looking for professional, strategic companies that, as licensing partners, will independently implement our technologies in their own countries. We are looking for partners who already have extensive experience in the field of soil remediation.
Outlook for 2017
As a preparation for the shareholders meeting, there will be an updated business plan, which will outline the focus of and activities planned for the next few years. We will realize the first sales revenue in Germany and Austria after the planned pilot projects were successfully carried out. During the first fiscal quarter in Germany, we are expecting the so-called environmental impact assessment, which proves that our process is environmentally neutral and does not produce any harmful residues during its application.
We look forward to an exciting and successful new year.”