Hawaii-based microalgae specialist Cyanotech has posted a 46% hike in revenues in fiscal year 2012 to $24.63m driven primarily by an increase in demand for the potent red antioxidant astaxanthin.
Net income in the year to March 31 also surged 110% to $3.6m, driven by higher volumes “and a partial reversal of the valuation allowance on our deferred tax asset”, said the firm.
Fourth quarter revenues were up 14.7% to $5.99m, while Q4 net income rose 45.7% to $1.16m
Nutrex supplements sales up 72%
The firm, which is expanding astaxanthin capacity to meet demand, said the antioxidant accounted for 65% of group revenues during the year, while spirulina – a blue/green algae - accounted for the other 35%.
Chief executive Brent Bailey said Cyanotech’s Nutrex-branded supplements (pictured) had also made a significant contribution to group sales.
“We continue to gain distribution on the mainland in the natural products channel where our Nutrex-Hawaii brand grew 72% in fiscal 2012.”
Vice president and chief finance officer Jolé Deal said operational improvements had also been made: “We’ve made significant improvements in the effectiveness of our internal controls and procedures.
“As a result, the material weakness that had been identified in previous years no longer exists.”
A potent antioxidant
Cyanotech produces its BioAstin astaxanthin from Haematococcus microalgae, which is grown in closed culture systems and then put through a 'reddening' cycle in open culture ponds. This is distributed to nutritional supplement, nutraceutical and cosmeceutical manufacturers in more than 54 countries.
A potent antioxidant, astaxanthin is claimed to have a wide range of benefits spanning joint, skin and eye health to healthy immune function, healthy tendons, UV protection for the skin, anti-aging, increased energy, recovery after exercise and a healthy cardiovascular system.
Astaxanthin has primarily been used in the feed industry to make farmed salmon a richer pink color. However, it has recently gained momentum in the dietary supplements market and is also being promoted as a functional food ingredient following several GRAS applications.