Aquasearch merger appeases creditors

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Mergers and acquisitions

Aquasearch, the Hawaiian company which develops nutraceutical
products from aquatic plants, has completed its merger with Mera
Pharmaceuticals.

Aquasearch, the Hawaiian company which develops nutraceutical products from aquatic plants, has completed its merger with Mera Pharmaceuticals.

The newly merged company will retain the name Mera Pharmaceuticals, and will change its incorporation to Delaware, Aquasearch said in a statement. All of Aquasearch's directors will continue to sit on the Mera board, and all Aquasearch shareholders will now become Mera shareholders.

Aquasearch produces The AstaFactor, a natural astaxanthin product derived from microalgae, and high hopes for the product when it was launched several years ago.

But its plans were put on hold in November last year when a group of investors tried to push the company into involuntary bankruptcy, claiming that it owed them $553,000. The company fought the move - seen by some as a means of forcing a change of management - claiming that the petition was incorrectly filed and that it included the names of a number of investors who had not agreed to the suit and who were still happy with their investment.

Nonetheless, the company was obliged to file for bankruptcy, and since the end of last year has been working on a reorganisation plan, including the merger with Mera. That plan was approved by all but two of the company's creditors earlier this year, and Aquasearch emerged from bankruptcy in June.

Richard D. Propper, chairman of the merged companies, said: "The merger is another step in completing the Aquasearch plan of reorganisation that was confirmed last month in US Bankruptcy Court in Hawaii. We are no longer operating under the supervision of the bankruptcy court, which will now permit us to quickly pursue our dual goals of developing, producing, and marketing nutraceuticals and pharmaceuticals derived from aquatic plants.

"All of our reorganisation financing is in place or committed, and we have begun the process of paying creditors' claims in accordance with the plan. The change of the company's name to Mera Pharmaceuticals reflects the increased emphasis that we intend to place on pharmaceutical discovery and development in the long term, while, at the same time, we aggressively market our nutraceutical line. In addition, the name change reflects the new beginning for the company following the bankruptcy process."

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