Record half-year profit for Dunedin-founded PharmaZen

Dunedin-founded biotechnology company PharmaZen is heralding a record half-year profit amid a challenging environment.

Sales for the six months to June 30 for the Christchurch-based company increased 24% to $10.3million from $8.3million in the corresponding period last year, despite significant disruptions from Covid-19, board chairman Ken Fergus said.

Earnings before interest and tax depreciation and amortisation (Ebitda) rose to $3.9million, up 54% from $2.5million last year and profit before tax rose a similar percentage to $2.9million.

"This is an excellent result in a challenging period. Like many companies, we experienced a temporary, but significant, sales decline in April. With 95% of our products being destined for export markets, we have also faced supply chain challenges, exchange rate volatility and difficulties accessing technical support from our international network of equipment suppliers," Mr Fergus said.

"However, momentum has returned since the lockdown, with strong demand late in the period. And despite a challenging environment, we have managed our costs well and maintained good margins." Managing director Craig McIntosh said PharmaZen was excited by the potential of its new AiOra range of supplements, being sold in New Zealand through Chemist Warehouse.

Made from local ingredients such as blackcurrants, kiwifruit, Greenshell mussels and beef, AiOra targeted digestive, joint, bone and vascular health.

Negotiations were under way with other potential stockists, and the launch inspired the development of a pet treats range to further grow the company’s finished goods and consumer brand strategy. The prototype range will be introduced at Pet Fair Asia in Shanghai later this month.

The company has accelerated expansion plans. In June it started construction on a facility with an area of 1000sq m on its Christchurch site.

"By the end of 2020 PharmaZen’s manufacturing operation will have transformed from the original 800sq m factory to areas encompassing more than 4000sq m."

PharmaZen has a 1ha site in Rolleston, with the option ton another half hectare, to future-proof the business.


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