Export markets drive Martek profit growth

By staff reporter

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Docosahexaenoic acid

Omega-3 oils supplier Martek Biosciences Corporation has turned in
a healthy second quarter, with profits surging above forecasts on
the back of increased overseas sales and growing revenues in its
core infant formula business.

The Maryland-based company's revenue jumped 18 percent for the quarter compared to the corresponding period in 2007, from $76.7m to $90.7m. In the same period, net income nearly doubled from $4.9m to $9.2m. Product sales of $87.9m were $3m above expectation (21 percent growth) due to production timing and "related product ordering patterns of several large customers." ​But this growth rate was not expected to continue in the third quarter when sales would settle at between $85m and $88m, with $9-10m coming from its non-infant formula business. For the full fiscal year of 2008 revenue of between $344m and $350m was forecast, a 10-12 percent growth rate on fiscal 2007. The results reflect Martek's aggressive marketing efforts for its algae derived DHA (docosahexaenoic acid) ingredients that dominate the North American infant formula market and are gaining increasing footholds in other markets. It has also pursued a policy of targeting food and beverage manufacturers outside of the infant nutrition area which is starting to pay dividends for the company as the product launches containing its life'sDHA branded ingredient stack up. "Martek's core infant formula business grew, especially overseas, and solid revenue increases were seen in non-infant formula markets,"​ said chief executive officer Steve Dubin. "Interest from food, beverage and supplements companies in our nutritional oils continues to grow which should lead to further expansion of our non-infant formula business. In addition, advancements continue in the development of both new applications for life'sDHA as well as new products to support Martek's long-term growth." ​However, the company's contract manufacturing activities declined to $2.9m from $4.4m a year ago as its services were narrowed to those products that could deliver "reasonable profit margins or those that the Company believes could have a strategic fit in the future." ​Its gross profit also increased significantly from 34.2 percent to 41.8 percent in 12 months due to plant productivity gains and reductions in ARA (​arachidonic acid) costs which it commonly combines with its life'sDHA ingredient. Research and development costs stood at $6.8m, or eight percent of revenue, and remained focused on functional foods and beverages development. These efforts had contributed to new product development for the period that included breads in the US and Canada, an orange juice in Australia as well as a butter, yogurt and smoothie in the US. Life'sDHA was also launched into a host of North American dietary supplements products.

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