On November 8th, tragedy struck when an explosion at a plant owned by Neptune Technologies (TSX:NTB) exploded, killing three people and injuring eighteen more.
Management and staff, who were struggling to deal with the shock in the days following the event perhaps had their feelings summed up best by a simple hand gesture from CEO Henri Harland. Harland simply held up three fingers to a reporter who asked what the cost of rebuilding the factory was, explaining that the three lives lost could never replaced.
Analyst Douglas Loe, who covers the stock for Byron Capital, was faced with the somber task of interpreting the circumstance for investors, prefaced his remarks a week later with a graceful mea culpa.
“What we describe below is not intended to distract from the human tragedy that Neptune team members and their families are enduring,” he said, “but we are nonetheless obliged to assimilate all information pertaining to stocks that we cover and once doing so, to render our views on valuation, as we will here.”
The destruction of Neptune’s entire stock of krill oil meant Neptune has little chance to make up short term sales, meaning Loe was forced to revise those expectations and lower his price target from $7.50 to $4, but Loe maintained his BUY rating on the stock, explaining that the tragedy did little to his long term view of the prospects of the company’s business.
Today, 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.
Harland said the company formulated a plan after first concentrating on its employees.
“Neptune’s action plan is the result of our strategic reflection on a strong path forward, keeping the interests of our shareholders, employees, customers, and partners at the top of our minds and priorities. By nature, it is a multifaceted and long-term plan, and the key lies in its execution. In a situation where we now face new challenges in a very difficult and sad circumstance for the Neptune family, we will stay committed to our new plan and our shareholders, employees and customers,” he said in a press release issued last night.
At press time, shares of the company on the TSX were down 29.2% to $2.35.