SeaDragon officially opens NZ$10m omega-3 refinery as new investor talks collapse

By Gary Scattergood

- Last updated on GMT

The new site has can refine up to 5,000 tonnes per year.
The new site has can refine up to 5,000 tonnes per year.

Related tags New zealand

New Zealand Omega-3 company SeaDragon has officially opened its new refinery in Nelson, which the firm previously said has the potential to generate NZ$50m annual sales.

Prime Minister John Key undertook the opening honours at the site, which has the capacity to refine up to 5,000 tonnes of Omega-3 fish oil each year, including oils from single species such as tuna and hoki.

SeaDragon Chairman Colin Groves said: “This plant is tangible evidence of New Zealand’s determination to take full advantage of the unique proposition we offer to markets around the world.

“To crowded markets offshore, New Zealand is synonymous with clean, pure, fresh and cool, deep blue oceans and it is regarded internationally as producing food of the highest quality and purity.

“New Zealand operates fisheries that are recognised for their sustainability. We can provide traceability to the source in order to give consumers precise information about the provenance of our products.

“And, when it comes to Omega-3 oils produced from sustainably-managed New Zealand fish species such as hoki, we have a unique story to tell that is every bit as compelling as the stories we tell about our wine, our honey and our milk.

The plant commenced commercial production earlier this year and by the end of August had produced around 100 tonnes of refined Omega-3 fish oil, of which the majority was refined tuna oil.

The plant has gained the certifications necessary to export products to key target markets. It also has Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) chain of custody accreditation.

Significant value

“This refinery offers New Zealand fishing companies and the broader fishing and aqua culture industries the opportunity to extract significantly more value from this country’s precious resources,”​ said Groves.

“We offer New Zealand fishing companies an opportunity to improve the profitability of their own businesses. And we offer an opportunity to generate capital for further reinvestment to take New Zealand further up the value chain.”

The ceremony was held a day after the firm warned investors that preliminary talks with a potential new cornerstone investor had failed.

The company is in the middle of a rights issue where current shareholders can take up one new share for every two currently held at 0.8 cents each.

In an update to the New Zealand stock exchange, SeaDragon said it had raised a total of NZ$1.5m so far.

SeaDragon told investors that it continues to discuss investment opportunities with other potential investors. The rights issue aims to raise up to NZ$12.5 million.

Earlier this year the firm missed its earning targets, citing a slowdown of the Omega-2 market and the rising cost of the refinery development.

Comvita, a Manuka honey supplier, is already a cornerstone investor in SeaDragon  following a funding deal agreed in August.

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