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Wednesday, March 17, 2004



Mera loss narrows
on 47% revenue rise

The company plans to launch a product
that should increase high-margin revenues


Mera Pharmaceuticals Inc., the maker of the nutritional product AstaFactor, narrowed its loss in its fiscal 2004 first quarter from a year ago as revenue jumped 47.4 percent.

Revenue increased from products, contract services and royalties to $268,575 in the quarter from $182,182 a year ago. The company's net loss was $188,488, compared with a loss of $628,096 a year ago.

Art Mera also said it plans to launch a new AstaFactor product near the end of April that should further increase revenues on high-margin retail sales.

"We were pleased by the magnitude of the improvement that we achieved last quarter, which was larger than expected," Mera Chief Executive Dan Beharry said.

Mera's revenues from AstaFactor sales rose 27.2 percent to $157,389 from $123,769. Contract services revenue for work on a U.S. Department of Energy product nearly doubled to $55,160 from $28,739. Royalties received from another company based on sales of its products also nearly doubled to $56,026 from $29,674. However, the royalty revenue payment received last quarter was the last payment due under the agreement.

Total expenses were nearly cut in half as they fell 45 percent to $467,124 from $848,722. Mera also had $961,778 in cash and cash equivalents at the end of the quarter, up from $202,021 a year ago.

The company raised $2.1 million in net proceeds from the sale of its stock last quarter and repaid $786,000 on various promissory notes. Mera also said it has received a conditional commitment for an additional equity investment of $265,000 prior to the end of this calendar year.

The company, which has administrative headquarters in Solana Beach, Calif., and a production facility in Kona, plans to consolidate its operations on the Big Island after its California lease expires in the middle of May.

Mera also said it has been expanding its Big Island work force and plans to increase production capacity for astaxanthin -- antioxidants produced by microalgae -- at its Kona facility through improving efficiencies and capital spending. Mera had 10 full-time employees at the end of its fiscal year on Oct. 31. That was down 58 percent from the 24 it had at the end of its previous fiscal year.

Mera, known as Aquasearch Inc. before emerging from Chapter 11 bankruptcy reorganization in September 2002, has lost $2.9 million since emerging from bankruptcy and $25.2 million since it was founded in 1988.



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