EASTAMPTON, NJ, Oct. 11, 2017 /PRNewswire/ - Epicore revenue for fiscal 2017 at $11.5 million was 21% higher than prior year. Sales increases were broad based. Latin America was the largest sales region but the recovery in Asia was very strong. Newer areas made a very strong contribution. The shrimp industry recovery began in Q3 of fiscal 2016 as shrimp prices began and continue to slowly increase. The early mortality syndrome (EMS) disease continues to significantly affect production in Asia and Mexico and has been found in other Latin American countries. With higher shrimp prices farmers are more willing to try a crop, which is good for Epicore's hatchery product sales. Net income increased by 40% and earnings per share increased to $0.06.
Gross margin improved from 58% to 62% due to sales mix. Operating expenses increased 22% increase as higher sales produced higher commissions and higher employee profit sharing. Corporate expenses also contributed to the increase. Earnings before tax increased 44% to $2.6 million. Net income at $1.6 million was above the million-dollar mark for the fourth year in a row. Capital expenditures were lower in fiscal 2017 contributing to a 33% increase in cash balances. Some highlights versus prior fiscal year were:
Revenue increased 21% from $9.4 million to $11.5 million
Gross profit increased 30% from $5.5 million to $7.1 million
Operating expenses increased 22% from $3.7 million to $4.6 million
Net income increased 41% from $1.1 million to $1.6 million
EBITDA1 increased 39% from $2.0 million to $2.8 million
Shareholders' equity increased 18% from $9.4 million to $11.1 million
Cash increased 33% from $3.5 million to $4.6 million
Earnings per share increased from $0.04 to $0.06
The following summarizes financial results (rounded to thousands of US dollars):
Earnings Before Taxes
Earnings per share
Epicore continues to generate positive cash flows from operating activities with $1.7 million generated in fiscal 2017. Investment in infrastructure continued. A new retail store in Ecuador was nearly completed. Dust handling equipment was acquired for Eastampton that will significantly improve worker safety. Cash at the end of the year was $4.6 million versus beginning cash of $3.5 million. With these funds, expected sales revenue growth and continued relatively low operating costs, management expects there will be sufficient cash to meet the fiscal year's financial requirements, to fund expansion of aquaculture and environmental remediation marketing efforts and to pursue new strategies for enhancing shareholder value.
Our ISO 9001:2008 and Global GAP quality system certifications contributed to operational reliability. They position Epicore to be compliant with the US Food Safety Modernization Act.
The financial statements of the company have been prepared in accordance with International Financial Reporting Standards. Epicore BioNetworks Inc. is a public corporation with a registered office in Calgary, Alberta, Canada and with shares listed on the TSX Venture Exchange (symbol EBN). [Neither TSX Venture Exchange nor its Regulation Services Provider (as that term is defined in the policies of the TSX Venture Exchange) accepts responsibility for the adequacy or accuracy of this release.]
This press release contains forward-looking statements that involve significant risks and uncertainties. The actual results, performance or achievements of the company might differ materially from the results, performance or achievements of the company expressed or implied by such forward-looking statements. Such forward-looking statements include, without limitation, those regarding the future growth of the Company, the development plans of the company, the expected timing and results of such development and the expectation by management that there will be sufficient cash to meet the fiscal year's financial requirements and to fund expansion of aquaculture and environmental remediation marketing efforts and to pursue new strategies for enhancing shareholder value.We can provide no assurance that such development will proceed as currently anticipated, that the expected timing or results of such development will be realized or that the company will be able to generate sufficient cash to meet its obligations. We are subject to various risks, including the uncertainties of product development, markets for our products and regulatory review, our need for additional capital to fund our operations, our reliance on collaborative partners, our history of losses, and other risks inherent in the biotechnology industry.
1 EBITDA is a non-GAAP financial measure. For the Company, It is defined as earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortization. Management believes that EBITDA is a better indicator of operational performance than net income because it ignores interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortization.