Neptune Provides Update on Incident at Its Production Plant
LAVAL, Quebec, Nov. 12, 2012 -- 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, Quebec, 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 sante et de la securite 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(R), 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(R) and
Onemia(TM), 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(R) and Onemia(TM) are adequate, the
market supply of Onemia(TM) will continue as planned and the ongoing
clinical trials on CaPre(R) 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 becomes available.
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(R)) and ECOKRILL Oil
(EKO(TM)), 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(R), 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 triglycerides.
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: