Nutra krill drives Aker towards profitability

By Shane Starling

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Conjugated linoleic acid, Aker

Norwegian krill oil supplier Aker BioMarine expects to turn a profit for the first time in 2011 as its human nutrition business develops outside of the US.

2010 Q1 results released today showed Aker’s krill business moved into the black for the first time in the company’s history, with earnings before interest, tax, interest, depreciation and amortization (EBITDA) coming in at about €377,000 for the quarter.

The upturn in sales was principally a factor of new deals being made in the European Union as a result of the company achieving novel foods approval in December and meant the Superba-branded human nutrition side of the business out-earned the Qrill animal feed business for the first time.

The Superba business generated sales of €3.65m out of overall sales of €6.54m (€2.52m in Q4 2009), with Qrill contributing €1.89m.

Despite these improvements the company still made an overall operating loss for the period of €3.65m, as it invested in capital, inventory and serviced debt arrangements and incurred financial expenses for a share issue.

“We are pleased with the progress we are making and expect to turn an overall profit in 2011,” ​Aker Executive vice president of sales and marketing, Matts Johansen, told NutraIngredients this morning.

“Interest in the category continues to grow especially here in Europe, which is growing the most quickly,” ​he said, highlighting a 30 metric tonne-deal that had been signed recently with a northern European supplements company.

Asia

Aker said it had 54 European customers and 57 US customers and had signed a deal with a Taiwanese supplements manufacturer called Compson that was its first move into the Asian human nutrition market.

“We are hoping we can learn about the Asian market from this, especially in regard to regulations which are different in every country,” ​Johansen said. He noted in Taiwan at least, products were evaluated on a product-by-product basis.

Aker said it was increasing production capacity at a new production facility.

It also earned €377,000 from a conjugated linoleic acid (CLA) licensing agreement for Cognis’ branded ingredient, Tonalin – down from €629,000 in the first quarter of 2009 a decline attributed to more players moving into the CLA space.

Aker is implementing a refinancing programme that involves a share issue, subscriptions for which close April 29.

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