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Profit for biotech firm pure bliss

NZN 23/05/2016 Paul McBeth

Blis Technologies expects to report its first annual profit in 2017, the first for the biotech company since listing 15 years ago after sales more than doubled in 2016.

The Dunedin-based company reported a net loss of $816,000, or 0.07 cents per share, in the 12 months ended March 31, from a loss of $1.4 million, or 0.12 cents, a year earlier, it said in a statement.

Revenue more than doubled to $5.6m, and Blis expects that will rise to $8m in the 2017 financial year which will underpin its first surplus, having accumulated losses of $33.3m.

"There was a significant planned increase in overheads for the year," chief executive Brian Watson said. "We expect to report a net surplus for the year to 31 March 2017."

Blis was set up to commercialise probiotic bacteria for use in consumer products for oral health, colds and flu and is focused on managing growth and continuing its strategy of securing regulatory approvals market by market. It first listed in 2001 but has yet to turn a profit.

Watson took over as chief executive in February, replacing the long-serving Barry Richardson.

Blis didn't disclose the CEO's salary, but the top paid staff member received between $320,000 and $330,000 in the 2016 year, up from $270,000 to $280,000 a year earlier.

Blis' operational cash outflow almost halved to $511,000 in 2016, and the firm held cash and equivalents of $1.2m as at March 31.

The board signed off on the financial statements being prepared on a going concern basis, saying the cash reserves were enough to meet budgeted capital spending and working capital needs.

The shares dropped 8.8 per cent, or 0.3 cents, to 3.1 cents, valuing the company at $34.1m.

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