Stevia supplier misses 2008 estimates

by Jeff Gelski
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Stevia supplier GLG Life Tech Corp., Vancouver, B.C., posted revenue of C$9.9 million ($7.8 million) for the year ended Dec. 31, 2008, which was down from its estimate of C$10 million to C$12 million but up 8% from C$9.2 million in 2007. The company also recorded fiscal year EBITDA of a negative C$1 million, which compared with estimates of a negative C$200,000 to C$200,000.

Capital expenditures for 2008 came in at C$57.8 million, within the estimated range C$55 million to C$60 million.

GLG Life Tech said the EBITDA came in lower than expected because of uncertainty surrounding the collection of 2007 amounts owed, lower gross profit margin than expected on stevia revenues in the fourth quarter of 2008, and higher fourth-quarter sales, general and administration expenses.

"The company expects the market for its stevia products to be stronger in 2009 compared to demand seen in 2008," GLG Life Tech said when reporting fiscal year results April 1. "This expectation is driven by positive regulatory changes in several markets around the world for the allowance of stevia as an ingredient in food and beverages."

GLG Life Tech expects fiscal year 2009 revenue of C$50 million to C$60 million and EBITDA of C$8 million to C$12 million. New customer contracts should close in 2009, according to the company, and delivery against the contracts is expected to begin in the third and fourth quarters. Capital expenditure should fall between C$17 million to C$40 million.

"The company expects numerous new product launches in 2009 based on feedback received from customers and new prospects," GLG Life Tech said. "The current economic recession has the potential to impact the company’s financial results negatively if food and beverage companies reduce or delay plans to launch new stevia-based products."

Extracts from the stevia plant are used as sweeteners in foods, beverages and dietary supplements.

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