Neptune looks to build US investor base

By Jess Halliday

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Neptune krill oil, Stock market, Investment, Neptune

Neptune Technologies and Bioressources is taking steps to increase
its liquidity on the NASDAQ exchange and stimulate interest in the
company from health-savvy US investors.

Canada-based Neptune is extracts, researches and markets natural health products from marine biomasses, such as krill oil from plankton. The company is also listed on the Canadian TSX Venture exchange. Toni Rinow, corporate development and investor relations, explained to that on the NASDAQ there are currently only 2,000 to 3,000 shares in the company traded every day, which means that if a big institution were interested in investing, for high share volumes it would be buying against itself. If the company has greater liquidity, this would stimulate more trading from big players. Neptune's NASDAQ listing shows it has 37,330,000 basic outstanding shares and a market value of $128,415,200. To develop more relationships with analysts, portfolio managers and major financial institutions, Neptune has entered into an agreement with financial communications consulting firm Integrated Corporate Relations Inc. Rinow said the aim is to attract a broader base of owners from amongst US investors. Health is better understood in the US than in Canada, she said, and Americans are more familiar with the kinds of offerings made by Neptune - and therefore the potential for the market to deliver good returns. The company has judged that now is a good time to build the shareholder base since it has reached an "inflection point"​ in both its nutraceutical and pharmaceutical activities. "We are mature enough to be able to attract big investors,"​ said Rinow. In January the company reported that a panel of independent experts has deemed its Neptune Krill Oil (NKO) safe for human consumption, opening up the route for its manufacturer to commercialize it for functional foods.​In 2007 it entered into two agreements with major companies to explore NKO's use in functional foods - Nestle, the world's largest food company, and diary giant Yoplait. It expects to enter into more partnerships in the future. For the nine month period ended February 29 2008, Neptune reported a 29 per cent increase in sales volume compared to the same period of the previous financial year. However in value terms, sales grew just 11.6 per cent, to C$7,129,000. The impact of the US dollar devaluation was said to have impacted 85 percent of sales. The three month period to end February resulted in a net loss of $866,000, or $0.024 per share, compared to a net loss of $455,000, or $0.013 per share, for the three-month period ended February 28, 2007. The company said, though, that were it not for non-monetary items, stock option based compensation and amortization, profit would have reached $194,000.

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