MB Telecom pitches new invention at Geneva expo

Newsroom 08/04/2013 | 05:29

Romanian company MB Telecom, a system integrator that designs and installs hi-tech equipment, generally as part of large-scale security projects, is preparing to showcase its new venture at the International Exhibition of Inventions in Geneva. President Mircea Tudor tells BR what it is about and details the research activity going on at MB Telecom at the moment.

By  Otilia Haraga

You are about to take part in this year’s International Exhibition of Inventions in Geneva. What is your project about and what investment did it require?

Work on the Roboscan Aeria project, the first aircraft scanner in the world, began in 2009, right after we won the grand prize at the Exhibition of Inventions in Geneva for the truck and container scanner with which we were competing that year. Currently, many entities from all over the world are trying to develop a solution for scanning planes, but we are the first to have identified a technologically mature solution which materialized into a functional prototype that we will exhibit in Geneva, between April 10 and 14. We have invested over EUR 8 million in this project, and the funds have so far come from our own resources.

How much does MB Telecom invest annually in research and where do you get the capital for this?

In recent years we have re-invested over 80 percent of the profit we have made in research. With our other projects, we have managed to attract public funds for financing applicative research, but unfortunately for the Roboscan Aeria project, we did not manage to persuade the Romanian authorities that it deserved to be supported, in spite of the fact that it is a strategic and unique project globally and there is a substantial market for it. During a recent national competition for financing research, this project was ranked in a very modest position, coming 38th out of 80 projects submitted.

What revenues and profit did MB Telecom post last year and what estimations do you have for 2013?

We closed 2012 with a turnover in excess of RON 42 million (approximately EUR 9.5 million) and a profit of more than RON 15 million (approximately EUR 3.4 million). We hope to post figures at least at the level of these indicators in 2013.

What types of projects are currently in the works at MB Telecom? Generally, how many of them do not work out in the end?

In our East European Center for Integrated Applied Research, which we recently inaugurated, we have in development various projects in the fields of banking security, cross-border security, medical imaging, metal processing, intelligent building management solutions and similar.

Some of the projects are in the final stage, meaning the developed solutions and technologies are being certified; others are in the embryonic stage. The dynamic of the projects and their complexity is great, as each project draws on various disciplines within an applicative platform.

We are developing an entire industry on the horizontal, which is participating in the projects with us, especially in the last stages of carrying out experimental models and developing technologies for mass production.

So far, the success rate of our projects has been very good. There was only one project proposed to us by external partners that was abandoned because it did not have a chance of success.

Do you have projects in collaboration with the state sector? What sum does such a project typically amount to?

If we are talking about projects for implementing cross-border security systems, where we are market leaders, it is clear that only the state can invest in such projects. If we are talking about research projects, the ratio of these projects with public financing is under 10 percent of the funds we allocate to research. For example, we implemented the Customs Integrated Security System for the Schengen Border, a multi-annual project worth millions of EUR, which has been positively evaluated by all the teams from the European Union.

Have you also delivered projects for other states? What were these projects about?

We did the integrated security system of Maputo International Airport in Mozambique, which was successfully completed and totaled several million USD. Currently, we are making offers for various projects for public entities in different corners of the world, from the Far East, through the Arab countries to North and South America. Representatives of these states have already expressed their interest in visiting our stand at the Exhibition of Inventions in Geneva.

How many employees does MB Telecom have and how many does the research team number?

Currently we have over 120 employees, half of whom are involved in applicative research projects. It is worth mentioning that with the implementation of the East European Center for Integrated Applied Research, the number of employees has had a growth rate of at least 10 percent a year, even during crisis periods.

What is the shareholding structure of MB Telecom at the moment?

Currently, the shareholders of MB Telecom are me, with an 80 percent stake, and Mariana Chirita with 20 percent. However, I also plan to include my children in the company’s shareholding structure, and not just in the management, as is the current situation.

otilia.haraga@business-review.ro

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