OSHAWA, ONTARIO, May 17, 2004 (CCNMatthews via COMTEX) -- Sentex Systems Ltd. ("Sentex") (TSX Venture: SXS) reports that revenue for the fourth quarter ending December 31, 2003 was $890,549 compared to $1,952,653 for the same quarter in 2002. Fourth quarter sales for the Nurtribios division were $776,846 while sales for the Natunola division were $113,703. Sentex's total sales for 2003 were $4,071,068 down from $5,142,272 for 2002.
The Nutribios division's net income for the year ended December 31, 2003 was $567,644 before absorbing the Natunola division's operating loss plus development costs of $743,494, resulting in an after tax loss of $103,910. The year ended December 31, 2002 showed a profit of $485,843.
The fiscal year 2003 was a disappointing year financially as we were challenged by problems in the industry and our first full year's operation of Natunola, a company acquired in 2002. On the positive side we believe that the combined operations make Sentex a more diversified entity.
At NutriBios, (a subsidiary of Sentex) marketing staff worked hard to expand sales domestically and internationally using new digital presentation technology and Nutribios' network of satisfied customers. We continue our tradition of providing effective natural alternatives to antibiotic growth promoters. We launched a new line of natural immune stimulant products to fill the niche previously occupied by antibiotic growth stimulants in the animal feed industry. The European Common Market has already banned products containing antibiotic growth promoters. Macdonald's, the fast food giant, has set January 1, 2005 as the date that all food products will be antibiotic free.
There were downturns during the year which continued to linger in the International Agricultural Industry - SARS, BSE, The Avian Bird Flu and the 21% appreciation of the Canadian dollar - these have all had an impact on the animal nutrition industry. However, Nutribios has cemented its position as a leader in natural bio-nutrients by posting a profit of $ 567,644 and expanding its market share in a challenging time.
Nutragen XP is one of our most promising developments. A fourth generation natural bio-nutrient, Nutragen XP is a nucleotide based supplement that is proven to enhance immune system function in domestic animals living under stressful conditions resulting in lower mortality rates and completely eliminating the need for antibiotic growth promoters. Composed of free nucleotides, which are the building blocks of RNA and DNA, Nutragen XP is a definite rising star that was developed by our research and development team at Oshawa. Nutragen XP is rapidly becoming the product of choice for commercial producers who seek to meet the public's demands of antibiotic free products.
The fiscal year 2003 was a very challenging year for Natunola Health. This was the year they completed a flaxseed dehulling plant in Ontario. Concurrently to the plant completion, they also began to execute a marketing plan for flaxseed into human food and value-added feed markets.
The patented flaxseed dehulling process produces a series of novel shelled flax products which are more nutritional, delivering more omega-3 fatty acids, better taste and have higher stability as compared to any competitive products. Natunola shelled flax products are now available throughout Canada via either a local distributor or directly from our Winchester plant. A number of major national bakery companies and contract manufacturers are at the late stage of trials with our shelled flax in their new and improved baked goods. During the year, we also conducted a number of trials in animal nutrition using our shelled flax. The results in poultry, fish and ruminants trials are very exciting and there is a great potential for us to enter the value-added feed market.
The market development of our new shelled flax was hindered by the lack of consumer awareness and events that happened in the animal nutrition market during 2003. However, with a lot of media and government agencies now heavily promoting healthy food and a healthy life style, we are expecting stronger sales from our shelled flax products.
The sales for our patented Vegelatum and other vegetable based products for cosmetic and personal care industries were higher than the previous year. This is a strong indication that consumers are still looking for natural and functional plant based replacements for petroleum jelly. We expect these product sales to continue to grow.
Natunola has strong-patented technologies and strong product lines, and we continue to generate a lot of excitement in the media and in the human nutritional sector as well as the agricultural industry.
Our challenge for 2004 is to return the company to strong profitable growth. We feel confident that with public awareness that Omega 3 is one of the cornerstone products of personal health our flax products will join the NutriBios products as industry leaders.
Overall, we expect strong sales and earning growth at Nutribios and Natunola in the current year.
Some of the statements contained in this release are forward-looking statements, such as estimates and statements that describe the Company's future plans, objectives or goals, including words to the effect that the Company or management expects a stated condition or result to occur. Since forward-looking statements address future events and conditions, by their very nature, they involve inherent risks and uncertainties. Actual results in each case could differ materially from those currently anticipated in such statements.