Published December 18, 2012
Neptune Technologies & Bioressources Inc , a Canadian maker of nutritional supplements whose plant was destroyed by fire in November, plans to resume significant production in six to nine months, its chief financial officer said, rejecting an online article that said "meaningful" production would restart only in 2014.
Neptune's shares fell sharply for a second day on Tuesday following an article on investment website seekingalpha.com that said meaningful production would not restart for more than a year. http://link.reuters.com/dec74t
An explosion and fire destroyed Neptune's plant in Sherbrooke, Quebec on November 8, killing three employees.
Neptune's shares, which fell about 26 percent on the Toronto Stock Exchange on Monday in what brokers said was in response to the article, were down another 8 percent on Tuesday.
Neptune harvests krill, or tiny deepwater crustaceans that resemble shrimp, and processes them to be used in cosmetics and nutritional supplements as an alternative to vegetable oils.
Chief Financial Officer Andr�� Godin told Reuters on Tuesday that production would restart next year, with another factory in Sherbrooke coming on line in about six months.
Godin said the destroyed plant was insured for about $20 million and that the money would be used to optimize the existing facility, which had worked in conjuction with the factory that was leveled.
"We want to diversify the source of production in regard to manufacturing in the future and we are in negotiation with several industrial partners to have production outside Canada," he added.
Godin also rejected the article's assertion that the company had no revenue and that it had only 10 employees.
"We will generate krill oil revenues in the interim period until our plant is back to production by tapping multiple sources," he said, adding that the company still had about 50 employees after cutting 70 jobs in November.
Shares of Laval, Quebec-based Neptune, which has a market value of about C$110 million ($112 million), were down 8 percent at C$1.70 in midday trading on the Toronto Stock Exchange. The company's Nasdaq-listed shares were down 9.5 percent at $1.72. ($1 = 0.9846 Canadian dollars)
(Reporting by Shounak Dasgupta and Adithya Venkatesan in Bangalore)