(photo credit: Courtesy)
The New York-based RWL Water, founded by Jewish-American philanthropist Ronald Lauder, will be merging with Israeli sewage treatment firm Emefcy in an approximately $100 million deal.
The companies will be coming together to form a venture called Fluence Corporation Limited, with the purpose of creating “a global provider of innovative, decentralized water and wastewater treatment solutions for both municipal and industrial applications,” they announced on Friday. Emefcy – listed on the Australian Securities Exchange – will be issuing 100.5 million new ordinary stock shares as the purchase consideration for all of RWL’s equity interests, while Lauder is committing to acquire an additional $20m. worth of shares, pursuant to the agreement.
“By creating Fluence, we are now taking RWL Water and Emefcy to the next level through the unique combination of breakthrough innovations and rapid deployment of standardized solutions by proven teams,” said Lauder, whose ownership of the combined entity will be about 34%. “I look forward to remaining a significant shareholder of Fluence and seeing the fulfillment of the legacy I set out to create in the water space by originally establishing RWL Water.”
RWL Water specializes in deploying scalable water treatment solutions in the desalination, wastewater, waste-to-energy and reuse sectors, and has built more than 7,000 installations around the world.
The Caesarea-based Emefcy, meanwhile, boasts an innovative sewage treatment technology that employs significantly less energy than typical facilities. The company’s Membrane Aerated Biofilm Reactor (MABR) uses water-tight membranes that enable the diffusion of oxygen into the wastewater without requiring a high-energy compressor – using 80% less energy than conventional plants and reducing sludge by up to 50%, according to the company.
Thus far, Emefcy’s MABR system is up and running at a municipal treatment plant in St. Thomas, in the US Virgin Islands, as well as in facilities in Israel.
In addition, the company has two sites under construction in Ethiopia – one in an Addis Ababa residential neighborhood and a second at Mekelle University’s Ayder Hospital in Tigray.
About two weeks ago, Emefcy announced plans for commercial deployment in China, after signing a memorandum of understanding to develop a wastewater treatment plant in the Zhejiang Province over the next three months. The company has previously signed four distribution agreements and initiated a demonstration plant in the country.
While Emefcy and RWL Water only announced the merger last week, the two companies declared their intentions to work together in April. At the time, the firms said they would soon be collaborating to provide a variety of “plug-and-play” sewage treatment options to remote villages in China.
Fluence will be focusing on developing water and wastewater solutions for “the rapidly growing market for decentralized treatment,” the partners said.
The firms cited the massive Chinese rural wastewater treatment market in particular as a target sector, as well as markets in other water-stressed regions, like the United States, the Middle East and Latin America.
Emefcy CEO Eytan Levy, who will serve as Fluence’s president in charge of products and innovation, told The Jerusalem Post that the merger will meld Emefcy’s “powerhouse of innovation” with RWL’s “outstanding execution capabilities.” Much of the innovation will continue to take place in Israel, as about a third of the New York-based firm’s workers will be based in Caesarea, he added.
By capitalizing on the unique abilities of both firms, Fluence will be able to deliver “high added value advanced technologies to the market” and thereby increase turnover and profitability, according to Levy.
“I think it’s a rare combination of capabilities that creates a synergy, because there is no overlap in the current activity of the two companies before the merger,” he said. “Combining the two creates a strong, unified company that has all these capabilities in-house.”