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Fortune favors Forbes Medi-Tech for 2005

13-Jan-2005

2005 is barely underway but Canadian Forbes Medi-Tech is already looking forward to a bumper year. The biopharmaceutical company yesterday announced revenue guidance of C$21 to C$22 million for the fiscal year ending 31 December 2005 - up at least 20 percent on 2004's expected revenue of around C$17.5 million - and major new launches on the cards in Europe.

This boon is largely thanks to the US$24.4 million sterol shipments agreement between its manufacturing joint venture with Chusei, Phyto-Source LP, and a leading multinational ingredient company.

Forbes Medi-Tech president and CEO Charles Butt expressed excitement at the prospects for 2005 and drew attention to another contributing factor.

"The recent European Union approval of our cholesterol-lowering ingredient, Reducol, in milk-based beverages and pending approvals for other food groups should provide significant opportunities for our nutraceutical business," he said.

Investor relations manager Darren Seed told NutraIngredients-USA.com that the second quarter will bring some major new launches in Europe, first and foremost in the milk products category but also in other categories if approvals are granted.

European approval is currently pending in six other categories: yellow fat spreads, yogurt type products, spicy sauces, salad dressings, soya drinks and cheese type products.

Seed noted that the company is not necessarily in all these categories, but that it has sought approval now so as to be able to introduce new products in the future should it wish to.

With its projected 2004 revenue of C$17.5 million, Forbes Medi-Tech will exceed previous guidance of C$16.5 for the year, announced in December 2004.

It saw an increase in sales of both branded and non-branded sales over the nine month period ended 30 September 2004, with total revenues reaching C$11.8 million, compared with $10.3 million for the same nine months of fiscal 2003.

In the third quarter 2003 revenues rose from last year's C$3.4 million to C$5.4 million.

It seems fortune is smiling on Forbes Medi-Tech at the moment, but what are the prospects in the longer term?

"After 2005 it will depend on whether these products are well-received by the nutraceutical industry," said Seed, who does not foresee any problems. "The only limitation is capacity."

Last month Forbes Medi-Tech announced the completion of its expanded facility in Pasadena, Texas to a capacity of 1500 metric tonnes per year - 50 percent more than previously. Seed would not reveal whether further expansion or acquisition of additional facilities is on the cards.

"First and foremost our concern is to ensure we can meet our immediate goals and objectives," he said.

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