Canadian krill oil firm Neptune Technologies & Bioressources has posted a 31% surge in sales in its nutraceutical business in the final quarter of fiscal 2012, and a 15% rise in sales in this division over the full year.
The firm, which is expanding its facility in Sherbrooke, Québec, to meet growing demand, said nutraceutical sales rose 31% to $5.36m in the three months to February 29, while net profits in the division were $1.38m, compared with a net loss of $985,000 for the same period last year.
For the full year to February 29, nutraceuticals revenues were up 15% to $19.11m, while net income rose sharply from $1.01m to $2.38m.
Consolidated revenues - which include figures from the Acasti Pharma and NeuroBiopharm businesses – were up 15% to $19.12m while net losses increased to $4.59m compared with a $1.69m net loss for fiscal 2011.
Neptune also announced a series of management changes that are “in part, designed to put greater emphasis on stimulating sales growth, assessing our business portfolio opportunities and expanding operating profit margins", said president and chief executive Henri Harland.
- Harland Waksal's nomination to the board of directors.
- Dr Tina Sampalis' promotion to chief global strategic officer of Neptune, Acasti and NeuroBiopharm.
- Dr Wael Massrieh's promotion to vice president scientific affairs (he will oversee Neptune's R&D program).
- Eric Simard's promotion to vice president science & development (he will oversee innovations in the manufacturing process plus clinical research).
- Michel Timperio's promotion to vice president global sales (he will oversee sales & business development).
Asian expansion plans
Neptune did not provide an update on its Asian expansion plans, but recently said construction of a new factory that will manufacture its krill oil products in Asia, will begin late this year or early next.
Under a deal announced last September to create a 50:50 joint venture (JV) between Neptune and joint venture partner Shanghai KaiChuang Deep Sea Fisheries Co (SKFC) called Neptune-SKFC Biotechnology, SKFC will supply all the raw material and Neptune will provide a license to the JV giving it the rights to use Neptune’s production technology in return for an upfront payment plus ongoing royalty payments.
Publicly listed SKFC, which is 43% owned by a government-owned fishing conglomerate, has a large fleet of vessels for krill harvesting in the Antarctic Ocean, which will secure supply to Neptune-SKFC Biotechnology as well as Neptune.
Neptune, which started trading on the Toronto Stock Exchange last year, has recently secured two US patents covering its krill oil extracts.
The first, no. 8,030,348, protects Neptune Krill Oil (NKO) and also covers oils and powders extracted from krill containing marine phospholipids bonded to EPA and/or DHA and distributed and/or sold in the US, and is valid until 2025.
The second, no. 8,057,825, awards Neptune exclusive use of krill extracts in the US as a method for reducing cholesterol, platelet adhesion and plaque formation.
Both have been challenged by rival Aker BioMarine and are being re-examined by the US Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) at Aker’s request.
Neptune will hold a conference call and webcast next Thursday (May 31) to discuss the results and its strategy in more detail.