Dunedin-founded biotech company PharmaZen has reported
increased profit before tax of almost 40% and outlined an
''aggressive'' strategy for development and growth.
For the year ended December, now Christchurch-based PharmaZen
reported turnover of $6.99 million, compared with $6.68
million the year before, while before-tax profit was up 38%,
from $537,108 the previous year to $739,114.
As with previous years, the strength of the New Zealand
dollar continued to plague PharmaZen, as it did for all
manufacturers and exporters in the country. PharmaZen chief
executive Craig McIntosh said the before-tax profit was a
''significant achievement'', given what had been another
challenging year for exporters.
PharmaZen makes nutritional health supplements, about 10% for
domestic markets and 90% for export. Up to 23 staff
manufacture up to 900 tonnes of raw products annually, into a
wide variety of supplements for human and animal health.
''PharmaZen had set very aggressive timetables for product
and capability development as it looked for additional growth
areas,'' Mr McIntosh said.
Craigs Investment Partners broker Peter McIntyre said
PharmaZen's result was ''encouraging'', and key for investors
was the company having a plan for expansion under way.
''They appear set to gear up and increase production, which
will benefit both the top and bottom lines, after some
difficult years in the past,'' Mr McIntyre said.
Trading on the Unlisted platform, PharmaZen has a market
capitalisation of $9.6 million and 160 million shares on
issue. During the past year, share trading volumes have been
low, with a share high of 7c and low of 5c. The stock was
trading at 6c yesterday.
Mr McIntosh said that during 2013 PharmaZen had the
commercial launch of StimuCalä, a clinically proven calcium
''This is the first time the PharmaZen has had branded
material in retail markets and it is our first product with
patent protection,'' Mr McIntosh said.
In an interview with the ODT, Mr McIntosh acknowledged the
problems caused by the high New Zealand dollar, estimating
PharmaZen's profit, could more than double if the exchange
rate were around US75c, rather than the present $US85c.
This year, PharmaZen commissioned a state-of-the-art
fluidised powder blender, enabling highly accurate blending
of batches up to 1500kg, Mr McIntosh said.
The unit provided PharmaZen with a ''significant point of
difference'' over competitors which had smaller, less
accurate ''homogenisers'', and it had already helped secure
additional contract business, he said.
''Frustrations that were outside our control with delays to
the extraction project have prompted us to switch to a more
''We have invested heavily in putting together a pilot plant
that will be on a par with the best available in New
PharmaZen's freeze-drying and vacuum-drying technologies
would be complemented this year by a new spray dryer, which
opened up significant new product opportunities.
''There is no doubt that exchange rates and margins will
again prove challenging for 2014.
''However, through diversification of product range and
increased capabilities, PharmaZen is well positioned,'' he