Canadian Manufacturing

Neptune starts reconstruction of exploded Quebec production plant

Also overhauling adjacent expansion facility that was being built at time of blast

LAVAL, Que.—Neptune Technologies & Bioressources Inc. says it has begun reconstruction of its plant in Sherbrooke, Que., the site of a fatal explosion that killed three and injured 18 workers in November.

The Montreal-area diet supplement maker says the plant will have the capacity to produce more than 150,000 kilograms of Neptune krill oil per year.

The reconstruction is expected to be funded primarily from insurance payments, including about $6.7-million received to date.

Neptune is also overhauling an adjacent expansion facility that was being built at the time of the explosion.

Changes in the project and equipment purchases have raised the project cost to $30 million from an initial forecast of $21 million.

The company says it expects construction to be complete by this fiscal year, which ends in February, and it recently hired a new plant manager.

Last week, the company released its full-year results. Neptune’s losses surged to $12.8 million last year despite a 35 per cent increase in revenues to $25.2 million.

Neptune is a biotechnology company that primarily develops and commercializes marine-derived omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids. It has a patented process of extracting oils from Antarctic krill, which is then sold as a dietary supplement capsule, primarily to distributors in the U.S., Europe and Asia.

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