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Bioexx closes Saskatoon plant as cash crunch looms

Better days: Canadian Agriculture Minister Gerry Ritz announces a $6.4 M investment in the Canadian canola industry at the Saskatoon production facility of Bioexx.

Bioexx Specialty Protein’s (Bioexx Specialty Protein Stock Quote, Chart, News: TSX:BXI) once promising canola oil-based protein isolates plant in Saskatoon will soon be no more.

Faced with limited resources, the company will shutter its Saskatchewan operations in favour of a European joint-venture. The Toronto-based company has just $2.88-million in cash and cash equivalents, against liabilities of $8.12-million.

CEO Chris Schnarr explained the company’s plans going forward.

“Our strategic review process has resulted in advanced-stage negotiations to establish a joint venture for the commercial-scale deployment of our canola protein production technology in Europe, beginning with the construction of a 75,000-metric-tonne rapeseed-(canola)-processing facility. Given the status of our strategic process and the limited capital available, we have made the difficult but responsible decision to close our facility in Saskatoon, in order to improve our cost structure and monetize the value of those physical assets to address outstanding debts.”

Schnarr said Bioexx will partner with an unnamed “leading specialty oil processor with commercial operations and relationships in the European market.”

Bioexx yesterday announced its fiscal 2012 results, which showed the company continues to bleed red ink. The company’s losses totaled $63.27-million, or $.29 a share, more than double last year’s $30.11-million, or $.15 a share.

Bioexx gained investors attention because it developed a patented system that used refrigerant-based solvents to extract protein from plants. Until recently, the technology for extracting the protein from a plant wasn’t practical because the process required temperatures in excess of 100°C. When proteins are exposed to temperatures above 65°C they begin to denature, which strips their nutritive value.

The company began commercial production of canola protein isolates in Saskatoon in 2011, claiming to be the world’s first commercial producer of canola oil-based protein isolates and hydrolysates. But it generated only modest revenue from canola oil and canola meal sales, and never operated the facility at full capacity.

At press time, shares of Bioexx were even at $.085.

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About The Author /

Cantech Letter founder and editor Nick Waddell has lived in five Canadian provinces and is proud of his country's often overlooked contributions to the world of science and technology. Waddell takes a regular shift on the Canadian media circuit, making appearances on CTV, CBC and BNN, and contributing to publications such as Canadian Business and Business Insider.
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