Omega 3 maker Neptune consoles families, reassures investors after lethal explosion

Neptune Technologies & Bioressources ($NEPT) expressed "condolences" to the families of the 21 employees who were killed or injured in an explosion that leveled its Canadian manufacturing plant while seeming to try to also allay investor fears about the company's future. It was among the worst disasters at a pharma-related manufacturing operation in decades.

In a release Monday, the maker of mostly Omega 3 products derived from krill, said its "focus is concentrated first on its employees and their families, and supporting them through the tragedy." Three people were killed and 18 injured by an explosion that leveled the company's manufacturing plant in Sherbrooke, Quebec.

Neptune acknowledged that the explosion destroyed its manufacturing plant and inventory of krill products, but for investors pointed out that an expansion facility next door was not badly damaged. "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." Its shares have quit trading on the Nasdaq and Toronto Stock Exchange. It says it has insurance and is working that angle for money. The cause of the blast has not yet been determined.

Its pharmaceutical subsidiary, Acasti Pharma, was unaffected, it said, because its products are manufactured and stored in the U.S. It is the vehicle through which Neptune is pursuing prescription drug candidates and makes "medical food."

There have been other explosions and deaths this year at manufacturing plants around the world. An explosion at Teva Pharmaceutical Industries' ($TEVA) API plant in Croatia killed one and injured 8 other earlier this year. There also was a report out of India of an explosion at an unidentified plant that killed four and injured 17.

- here's the press release
- get more from CTV