Dunedin manufacturer to launch probiotic in Asia

FIONA ROTHERHAM
Last updated 05:00 24/08/2014

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Dunedin-based oral health probiotic manufacturer Blis Technologies is about to launch a co-branded product with the Nekta Group into Asia.

Nekta Group and Asia Pacific Partners Ltd owner Adriana Tong was one of a group of trade partners and existing shareholders who put in a net $4.28 million late last year to stabilise Blis' finances.

The major shareholders now include Forsyth Barr chairman Eion Edgar, Dunedin investor and Blis director Tony Offen, Asia Pacific Partners, Christchurch-based NZPR Group and David Wu.

The company delivered its 13th loss in a row in May this year - although the $1.54m after-tax loss was lower than the previous year's record $1.85m loss. The new funds are expected to see the company through until it hits its forecast profitability next year.

Tong said they were combining Blis' oral probiotic with Nekta's kiwifruit-based beverages under the brand name Nekta Blis, and a distribution deal was close to being signed in Singapore.

Blis chief executive Dr Barry Richardson said the company had gained Registered Manufacturing Plant status earlier this month for its nutritional formulations plant in Dunedin following a delay in getting full export accreditation.

The delay was due to additional audit requirements imposed to ensure export access to China. Blis listed in 2001 but has chewed through millions in shareholders funds while only making disappointing progress in commercialisation of its probiotic products.

These include Blis K12 lozenges sold in New Zealand supermarkets which prevent bad breath, sore throats, and respiratory infections.

Richardson said China's largest pharmaceutical company Sinopharm has said it will distribute Blis products in 600 stores in the next few weeks following a successful trial in three stores.

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- Sunday Star Times

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