Neptune Provides Update on Incident at Its Production Plant
LAVAL, Quebec, Nov. 12, 2012 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Neptune Technologies &
Bioressources Inc. ("Neptune") (Nasdaq:NEPT) (TSX:NTB) regrets to report that
in the afternoon of November 8, 2012, an explosion and fire destroyed its
production plant located in Sherbrooke, Québec, Canada. Three employees were
fatally injured. Eighteen other people were transported to the hospital, four
of whom were severely injured.
Following the news of the death of three of its employees, Neptune's
management extended their most sincere condolences to the victims' families
and friends. Neptune's focus is concentrated first on its employees and their
families, and supporting them through the tragedy. With the help of the
Commission de la santé et de la sécurité du travail (CSST), Neptune is
providing its employees with counselling services to ensure that they have
access to appropriate support under these circumstances. A more detailed
support plan for employees will be disclosed to employees shortly.
"Our hearts are greatly traumatized by this horrible catastrophe that will
remain in our minds forever. Our thoughts are with our colleagues and their
families. The strength of Neptune has been built on the commitment and
dedication of our employees, and I am confident that this same resolve will
allow us collectively to overcome this tragic event and rebound from it,"
stated Mr. Henri Harland, President and Chief Executive Officer of Neptune.
While its focus is first and foremost on human aspects of the incident,
Neptune also wishes to provide an update on the incident's impact on the
following business aspects.
*The incident completely destroyed Neptune's current production plant that
was in operation in Sherbrooke, but damages at the expansion facility
currently under construction adjacent to Neptune's Sherbrooke plant appear
to be limited. Since all of Neptune's krill oil products were manufactured
at the plant that was destroyed, operations at the plant are disrupted.
Neptune's inventory of krill oil products was stored at such production
plant and was destroyed as well.
*Neptune is strategizing on an action plan going forward to ultimately
allow it to resume production and meet client demands, and plan
particulars will be announced at a later date.
*In the interim, Neptune is taking all means to limit as much as possible
the damages, both human and financial, to its business, and is evaluating
different options to continue supplying its customers until it is once
again in production.
*Neptune has insurance coverage in place covering among other things
property damage, business interruption and general civil liability
insurance up to certain specified amounts, and has notified its insurers
of the incident. Neptune will provide a more detailed update on its
insurance coverage in further communications.
Incident Investigation and Cleanup Efforts
*An investigation is currently underway to determine the cause of the
explosion and fire, which according to preliminary reports affected,
amongst other things, some of the acetone reserves used by Neptune for its
krill oil extraction process. In collaboration with the public health
authorities, the City of Sherbrooke Police Department as well as with the
Fire and Emergency services, the company is doing everything it can to
understand what happened. The results of this investigation will be
communicated upon its completion. Cleanup efforts at the plant also
continue, in conjunction with the authorities.
Trading on NASDAQ and TSX
*Trading of Neptune's common shares on the NASDAQ Stock Market ("NASDAQ")
and the Toronto Stock Exchange (the "TSX") has currently been halted
indefinitely, pending further information. A trading halt is imposed at
the discretion of the stock exchanges (or their regulatory arms), and
lifting of a trading halt is equally subject to the discretion of the
stock exchanges. Neptune currently anticipates that the trading halts on
its common shares will not be lifted until such time when additional
information is disclosed on Neptune's plans going forward and NASDAQ and
the TSX are satisfied that investors have sufficient information on the
business and operations of Neptune going forward to make informed
Acasti Pharma Inc. And NeuroBioPharm Inc.
*Neptune expects that the day-to-day operations and business of its
subsidiary Acasti Pharma Inc. ("Acasti"), through which Neptune is
pursuing opportunities in the pharmaceutical market, will not be
interrupted. CaPre^®, Acasti's lead prescription candidate, is currently
being evaluated in two Phase II clinical trials, for which all required
material had already been produced. Both CaPre^® and Onemia^™, Acasti's
product marketed in the United States as a "medical food", are processed
and stored in U.S. facilities outside Neptune's affected plant.
Inventories of CaPre^® and Onemia^™ are adequate, the market supply of
Onemia^™ will continue as planned and the ongoing clinical trials on
CaPre^® will not be interrupted as a result of the incident. Acasti did
not derive any of its revenues from the sale of products manufactured at
the Sherbrooke plant, but will continue to be dependent on the support of
Neptune as its controlling shareholder.
*NeuroBioPharm Inc. ("NeuroBio") commenced operations in October 2008,
after having acquired an exclusive worldwide license from its parent
company, Neptune, to research and develop existing and new active
pharmaceutical ingredients based on Neptune's proprietary omega-3
phospholipid technology and intellectual property. NeuroBio will stick to
its business plan and research and development activities will continue as
planned, although milestones and the start of commercialization may be
delayed. NeuroBio will also continue to be dependent on the support of
Neptune as its controlling shareholder.
Finally, Neptune wishes to thank all of those who have demonstrated courage
and provided assistance and support to its employees in connection with the
tragedy, and in particular the fire, police and health authorities who were on
the front line of the rescue efforts.
Neptune will continue providing updates to the market as further information
About Neptune Technologies & Bioressources Inc.
Neptune is a biotechnology company engaged primarily in the development,
manufacture and commercialization of marine-derived omega-3 polyunsaturated
fatty acids, or PUFAs. Neptune produces omega-3 PUFAs through its patented
process of extracting oils from Antarctic krill, which omega-3 PUFAs are then
principally sold as bulk oil to Neptune's distributors who commercialize them
under their private label primarily in the U.S., European and Australian
nutraceutical markets. Neptune's lead products, Neptune Krill Oil (NKO®) and
ECOKRILL Oil (EKO™), generally come in capsule form and serve as a dietary
supplement to consumers.
Through its subsidiaries Acasti Pharma Inc. ("Acasti") (TSX-V:APO) and
NeuroBioPharm Inc. ("NeuroBio"), in which Neptune respectively holds 57% and
96% of the voting rights, Neptune is also pursuing opportunities in the
medical food and prescription drug markets. Acasti and NeuroBio respectively
focus on the research and development of safe and therapeutically effective
compounds for highly prevalent atherosclerotic conditions, such as
cardiometabolic disorders and cardiovascular diseases, and for
neurodegenerative and inflammation related conditions. Acasti's lead
prescription drug candidate is CaPre®, a purified high omega-3 phospholipid
concentrate derived from Neptune krill oil being developed to address the
prevention and treatment of cardiometabolic disorders, including
hypertriglyceridemia, which is characterized by abnormally high levels of
Forward Looking Statements
Certain statements included in this press release may be considered
forward-looking information within the meaning of Canadian securities laws and
forward-looking statements within the meaning of U.S. federal securities laws,
both of which we refer to as forward-looking statements. Such statements
involve known and unknown risks, uncertainties and other factors that may
cause results, performance or achievements to be materially different from
those implied by such statements, and therefore these statements should not be
read as guarantees of future performance or results. All forward-looking
statements are based on Neptune's current beliefs as well as assumptions made
by and information currently available to Neptune and relate to, among other
things, Neptune's intention to resume production in the future, extent of
insurance coverage relating to the tragedy, strategy, strategic goals,
research and development activities, research and clinical testing outcome,
future operations, future financial position, future revenues/results,
projected costs, prospects and plans and objectives of management.
Readers are cautioned not to place undue reliance on these forward-looking
statements, which speak only as of the date of this press release. Due to
risks and uncertainties, including the risks and uncertainties identified by
Neptune in its amended and restated annual information form dated September
11, 2012 and in its public securities filings available at www.sedar.com and
www.sec.gov/edgar.shtml, actual events may differ materially from current
expectations. Except as required by law, Neptune disclaims any intention or
obligation to update or revise any forward-looking statements.
CONTACT: Neptune Contact:
Neptune Technologies & Bioressources Inc.
Andre Godin, CFO
Howard Group Contact:
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