13th loss in row, but Blis cashed up

A delegation from Sinopharm visiting Blis Technologies last November. (Front, from left)...
A delegation from Sinopharm visiting Blis Technologies last November. (Front, from left) Sinopharm deputy general manager Zhiyuan Lv, Blis Technologies chief executive Dr Barry Richardson, National Medicines Prospect Dentech general manager Fang Zhang and NZPR Group managing director William McQui, (behind) Prof Xingyang Ouyang and Prof Hang Hua, inspect some of Blis' products. Photo by Peter McIntosh.
Dunedin oral health probiotic manufacturer Blis Technologies has posted a 13th consecutive annual loss, but maintains a healthy $3.65 million cash in hand.

Its its annual report, lodged with the stock exchange last week, Blis trading revenues for the year to March grew from $1.12 million to $1.26 million, while its after-tax loss shrunk from last year's record $1.85 million loss to a $1.54 million loss; in line with revised financial guidance in March.

Since listing in 2001, Blis has booked a total $30.9 million losses in consecutive years. During the past year, a share purchase plan and private placement refreshed the coffers with $4.22 million.

In its annual report, chief executive Dr Barry Richardson outlined numerous products, development, sale destinations and partnerships coming to fruition.

''Provided outstanding market access issues are resolved, our expectations remain for the company to move to profitable operations during the course of the 2015 financial year,'' he said.

While finding the financial result ''disappointing'', it reflected the costs in broadening from supplying healthcare ingredients to include manufacturing part or finished goods.

Delays in installation and accreditation of manufacturing facilities meant no revenue was generated until March, while a site move in Dunedin was stalled because of local government consent issues, denying Blis the opportunity to contain occupancy costs.

Craigs Investment partners broker Peter McIntyre said management had been ''working hard'' during the past year, looking to make savings and in marketing. The $3.65 million would be ''enough to cover operations for the next two or three years''.

While Blis' revenue in the former mainstay New Zealand market had declined from $672,000 a year ago to $494,000, and almost halved in Australia to $53,000, Asia and European sales were up almost 150%, from $217,000 a year ago to $540,000, plus an incremental gain in the United States to $106,000.

Dr Richardson said the boosted capital base would support business strategies, and had secured key trade partners as investors.

''Major commercial developments initiated in conjunction with our commercial partners are anticipated to come to fruition over the next six to 12 months,'' he said.

He said ''significant growth'' had been met in Asia and Europe and was expected to continue, and while US sales were ''badly affected'' by a market access issue; once resolved, ''meaningful sales'' in the US were expected.

Dr Richardson said China was expected to ''ultimately be a significant market'', with partner NZPR Group, in association with Sinopharm, the latter planning a market launch in China and studies for market development through clinical trials.

Blis manufactures oral probiotic bacteria which can be added to dairy products, for sale to niche human health markets, and also probiotic lozenge formulations.

- simon.hartley@odt.co.nz


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