Cyanotech reports surge in Q3 profits on back of ‘exceptional growth’ in astaxanthin

By Elaine Watson

- Last updated on GMT

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
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

Related tags Revenue Cyanotech

Hawaii-based microalgae specialist Cyanotech has posted a surge in third quarter net income driven by "exceptional growth" in sales of the potent red antioxidant astaxanthin.

The firm, which will increase its astaxanthin capacity by a third in April after bringing new ponds online, said Q3, 2012 net income rose to $1.113m - compared with $10,000 in Q3, 2011 - on sales up 71% to $6.706m in the three months to December 31, 2011.

Astaxanthin accounted for 69% of group revenues during the quarter, while spirulina – a blue/green algae - accounted for the other 31%.

Nutrex supplements sales up 74%

Chief executive Brent Bailey said sales of Cyanotech’s Nutrex-branded finished products (supplements) had also made a significant contribution to group sales.

“Our Nutrex-branded sales grew 74% largely driven by the mainland US natural products distribution channel.”

He added:​“Abundant inventory coming out of last winter, plus eight consecutive monthly astaxanthin production records, allowed us to fully capitalize on the strong growth in spirulina and the exceptional growth in astaxanthin resulting in four consecutive record net sales quarters.

“While demand continues to grow, our production generally declines during the winter months largely due to less sunlight."

Revenue in the year to December 31, 2011, was $23.863m compared with $15.423m in the year to December 31 2010, while income before income tax was $2.771m compared with $715,000 in the previous 12 months.

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 (pictured).

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.

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