On November 8th, the Quebec biotech junior became headline news after tragedy struck; an explosion at a plant owned by the company exploded, killing three people and injuring eighteen more.
The company says the fund, which takes the form of a non-profit legal person (NPO) will allow it to raise money from companies and individuals who wish to show their support.
COO Michel Chratrand said the fund is part of a larger effort from Neptune: “The victims fund created is already active. Neptune has invested more than $200,000 and has thus, among other, allowed the payment of employees’ salary for the period of November 8th to November 21st. Furthermore, we were able to take over and help with quite a few urgent requests by the victims’ families which included transportation to the hospitals, help with the funerals and others.”
Neptune Technologies manufactures krill oil. Krill are shrimplike crustaceans that are the primary food source of marine life such as salmon, whales and rockfish. Recently, fish oil from the tiny algae and plankton eaters has come to be prized as a dietary supplement for human consumption. A 2007 study in the Journal of the American College of Nutrition showed the oil, which is extremely high in omega 3, decreased inflammation and arthritic symptoms in cardiac and arthritis patients. Other studies showed it was effective in raising HDL, or “good” cholesterol, and lowering triglycerides.
The company was planning an expansion at the plant that would have increased production capacity to 300 metric tonnes by the fourth quarter of fiscal 2013, and then to 500 metric tonnes by Q4, 2014.
On November 27th, nineteen days after the explosion, the TSX lifted the halt on Neptune Technologies after the company held a press conference announcing an action plan that would include resuming production using equipment that was not harmed in the fire.
Neptune says those wishing to help can send their donations made out to the Fonds d’Entraide Neptune Technologies, by mail to the following address: 545, Promenade du Centropolis, Laval, (Quebec) H7T 0A3.
Shares of Neptune Technologies on the TSX closed today up 2% to $2.61.