Neptune buoyed by yearly results

By Shane Starling

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Nutrition

Quebec-based Neptune Technologies & Bioressources has recorded it sixth successive year of revenue growth as its krill ingredients draw greater consumer and business acceptance and its joint ventures prosper.

Revenues leapt to $10.26m from $8.13m in the fiscal year ended May 31, 2008 – a 26.3 percent increase.

But the company noted actual sales volumes had grown 54 per cent, a fact not reflected in the revenue increase due to the impact of the US dollar devaluation on more than 82 percent of the company's sales.

North American sales grew 6.34 percent to $6,749,000; European sales were up 10.5 percent to $1,727,000 while Asia-Pacific sales jumped 727 percent to $1,788,000.

Profits fell from $1.5m to $1m due to “expenses related to the devaluation of the US dollar, implementation of compliance with internal control regulations and management software and quality assurance program”.

Going swimmingly

Head of corporate development and investment, Toni Rinow, told NutraIngredients-USA.com, the results would have been even stronger but for the effects of the weak US dollar and one-off write-downs that occurred as a result of being listed on NASDAQ in 2007.

“The strong sales volumes growth reflects the fact that our krill offerings have won widespread acceptance among consumers and business,”​ Rinow said.

The company said it would boost production capacity and productivity and was “already in negotiations with major suppliers and multinational industrial manufacturing companies with international nutraceutical and pharmaceutical manufacturing standards in order to meet actual and forthcoming demand for its products.”

Rinow projected the company would double capacity in 12-18 months.

Partnerships

She pointed to the success of Neptune’s strategic partnerships including one with Australian firm, AZPA International, that had seen sales jump in the Asia-Pacific region from $200,000 to $1.8m in one year.

The jump was aided and abetted by approval for Neptune’s KNO ingredient from Australia’s notoriously tough regulator, the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA).

Other alliances include one formed in April with fish oil supplier Croda Health Care in the UK that has seen the two companies launch a range of krill oil/fish oil blended supplements.

“We now have all the key geographic areas covered,”​ Rinow said. “But we are planning on forming more joint ventures this year and it is a strategy we will continue to employ because of the positive yields it has delivered so far.”

These included deals with Nestle and Yoplait that were yet to see the light of day but for which “commercialization efforts”​ were proceeding.

The company stated it would, “partner with other multinational food companies for the development of new functional food products for commercialization exploiting three therapeutic applications (cardiovascular, inflammation, cognitive) within four food categories (dairy, cereals/bars, juice/beverages, confectionary).”

Research and development was an ongoing priority, with patent approvals being sought along with regulatory approvals in those regions where they were required.

Neptune had also formed a subsidiary, Acasti Pharma, to specialize in pharma applications for the ingredient

The company said it would raise up to $14.5m in debt refinancing via convertible debentures.

Krill are tiny shrimp gaining attention as a rich source of omega-3, as well as other nutrients.

There are about 85 species of the deepwater marine planktonic crustacean, or deepwater shrimp, which the planet's most abundant animal biomass and which when captured and converted to oil, pack 48 times the antioxidant punch of standard fish oils, according to ORAC antioxidant scales.

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