MIOX Corp.’s water treatment flows into foreign markets

Premium content from New Mexico Business Weekly by Kevin Robinson-Avila , NMBW Senior Reporter

Date: Friday, October 7, 2011

 

Nearly 100 percent of the water consumed by Bogotá, Colombia’s 8 million residents soon will be treated by purification technology from New Mexico.

Albuquerque-based MIOX Corp., which produces a low-cost method for purifying water, installed two systems this summer at Colombia’s largest water treatment facility, the Francisco Wiesner plant near Bogotá.

The systems are treating 25 percent of the water at the plant, which supplies nearly all Bogotá residents, said MIOX President and CEO Carlos Perea.

“We’ll put in four more systems soon to service the other 75 percent of plant capacity,” Perea said.

The Bogotá contract reflects MIOX’s aggressive push into foreign markets, which account for about 50 percent of sales.

The company, which formed in 1994, has received about $50 million in venture capital. It operates at a 64,000-square-foot manufacturing facility near Albuquerque’s Balloon Fiesta Park.

MIOX’s proprietary process uses a mix of water and salt shot with an electric current to treat drinking water. The electric mix helps separate salt into its component parts, sodium and chloride. The resulting oxidant solution is poured into water, where the chloride destroys common pathogens, eliminating the need for chemicals used in other systems.

The company’s systems operate at private and public facilities in some 30 countries.

MIOX designed a new strategy last year that relies on industry partners to expand markets. The company signed an exclusive distribution agreement last September with Quimiproductos S.A. de C.V. in Mexico to sell systems in Central and South America. Quimiproductos is a subsidiary of Fomento Económico Mexicano S.A.B. de C.V., or Grupo FEMSA, which is Coca-Cola’s bottling partner for Latin America.

This year, MIOX signed a partnership with Ecolab Inc., a Minnesota-based provider of cleaning, sanitizing, food safety and infection control products that reported $6 billion in sales in 2010. Ecolab will distribute MIOX systems to the food and beverage markets in North America and the Caribbean.

In June, Florida-based Parkson Corp., a member of the Axel Johnson Inc. group of companies that develops and markets products in water recycling and treatment, began distributing MIOX systems to municipal water and waste water customers in the U.S., Canada and six Middle Eastern countries.

Parkson Vice President Mike Miller said MIOX systems save customers money by eliminating the trucking, storage and management of chloride and other hazardous chemicals.

“It’s particularly good in remote areas like Alaska and Newfoundland, where trucks travel great distances to deliver bulk chlorine,” Miller said.

New Mexico customers include the water park at the Radisson Hotel in Albuquerque and New Mexico Utilities, which uses MIOX systems to supply water to commercial and residential customers on the Westside.

Kim Sanchez Rael, general partner with MIOX investor Flywheel Ventures, said the company is on a global growth curve.

“They’ve developed some very good distribution channels with new partners,” Sanchez Rael said.