Insurance payments, cash on hand will sustain Neptune, exec says

By Hank Schultz

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Insurance payments, cash on hand will sustain Neptune, exec says
Neptune Technologies and Bioressources stands to recover as much as $20 million in insurance payments stemming from the explosion and fire that destroyed the company’s production facility, the company said in a conference call with investors yesterday.

Company officials André Godin, chief financial officer, and Mike Timperio, vice president of global sales gave the presentation which detailed Neptune’s financial condition and the status of its plan to resume production and preserve customer relationships in the interim.

Neptune to date has received $6 million in insurance payments.  Recovering the full $20 million payout would depend on how long the company’s business is interrupted, Godin said.

“It depends on how long we will be interrupted.  Every two to three months we will be submitting claims,”​ Godin said.

“I think we will be getting money on an ongoing basis until we resume production.”

Some inventory built up

The explosion and fire on Nov. 8, 2012 killed three workers and destroyed the company’s production facility in Sherbrooke, Québec.  The reports at the time indicated that the company’s entire inventory of frozen krill had been destroyed.  In the conference call, officials said that some inventory and been recovered that some overstock had been taken back from customers, given the company a certain amount of material to fulfill future orders.

Godin said the company has $42.5 million in reserves, with $34 million cash on hand.

“We are confident in maintaining our market presence,”​ he said.

Neptune has announced in the past a nine-month time frame for restarting production in Sherbooke.  Under pointed questioning from an analyst, Godin stuck to his guns on that schedule.

Godin also said that within the nine month window, the company plans to have a production partner lined up. Godin declined to be more specific in answering a question from the same analyst about how difficult it would be for a production partner to retrofit their production facilities to produce Neptune’s krill oil.

“We will resume production in Sherbooke as well as partner with (another production company). It will be a combination of both for growth in the future,”​ he said.

With the cash in hand and the expected insurance payments, the company is looking down the road, Godin said.

“We have to start buying frozen krill for the next season.  We are starting to build some inventory,”​ he said.

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