Philom Bios Has Record Year

December 15, 2004

Release Date: December 15, 2004
Philom Bios Inc. took in record revenues of $12.1 million from product sales in its 2004 fiscal year as the Saskatoon-based manufacturer of biological crop inoculants proceeded with a change in management on Tuesday.

The company board of directors announced Tuesday that Calvin Sonntag will become chief executive officer on Jan. 1. Sonntag joined the company as president 10 months ago after a 15-year career with other agribusiness companies. Philom Bios founder John Cross will remain as chair of the board.

In an interview, Cross said he is delighted that the board’s succession strategy has worked so well, adding Philom Bios may have one of the strongest executive teams in the province.

The company reported net profits in the year ending Sept. 30 of $1.4 million, which is the second-best profit level in the company’s 20-year history. A company news release says this profit represents a 23 per cent return on invested equity.

Crop inoculants are biological products that work within the systems of plants to allow crops to better utilize nutrients such as nitrogen and phosphate.

Philom Bios recently announced a major initiative to market its products in North America among corn and soybean growers, two of the continent’s biggest cash crops. It will mean some added capacity at the company’s main manufacturing facility at Floral.

Philom Bios will also bolster its research capability at Innovation Place and is expected to add staff.

The company had previously concentrated on making inroads in the three Prairie provinces with growers of pulse crops such as peas, beans and lentils.

Philom Bios is also attempting to make more transparent any trading in its shares. It is working with Alan Cruikshank of Union Securities Ltd. in Saskatoon, who will co-ordinate a buy-and-sell, over-the-counter market for Philom Bios shares, which are trading at $2.60 each.

In an interview, Cross says reporting on the share price movement will help fulfil a promise the board made in 2001 to be more transparent and also help improve liquidity of the shares held by longtime local investors and employees.

“We’re not trading in the traditional sense, even though we’re on the over-the-counter market,” Cross said. “We want the community as a whole to be better informed about our story.”

About 35 per cent of Philom Bios shares are held by two funds, the private PIC Investments Group and the publicly traded Golden Opportunities Fund.

Murray Lyons
The StarPhoenix
December 15, 2004

© The StarPhoenix (Saskatoon) 2004