This is potentially very good news for Cyanotech, given what the company said in its recent 10k:
"Recent European Union regulations include stringent requirements for health claims on food and supplement labels.
"The European Union has harmonized standards among Member States for health claims on food and supplement labels. The scientific assessment of health claims is performed by the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA), an advisory panel to the European Commission. The European Commission will consider the opinions of EFSA in determining whether to include a health claim on a Positive List of permissible claims. Once the list is published, only health claims for ingredients and products included on the list may be used in promotional materials for products marketed and sold in the European Union. This could severely decrease or limit the marketability for our products in this market area. We have implemented strategies that we believe will allow for continued and increasing sales of our products in the European Union. However there can be no guarantee that such strategies will be successful."
By far, the most important country in Europe to Cyanotech must be Great Britain. Now the robust supplements industry in that country is free to reassert itself and lobby for more lax standards. Historically, sales of supplements in Great Britain have been like those in the U.S. For example, I recall that year after year, Holland and Barrett, the largest vitamin chain in England, was a reliable cash-cow for Nature's Bounty, which bought out the chain in the 1990s. Some of the smaller EU countries have had ridiculously stringent supplements laws, and over the years, Brussels has imposed those standards on the whole Union.
It was obvious that everything poor and evil was to be thrown into that last quarter to clear the slate for the 2017 fiscal year. The good thing about a totally lousy year is that the year-over-year comparisons are likely to benefit for the next four reports. A good thing in the report itself was that retail market share remained robust for astaxanthin at 59%, and that BioAstin is now in 34% of Costco stores. I personally was worried that there might have been some slackening.
I would guess that you got the Nutrex Hawaii ad because Google knows from your past browsing history that you are interested in Nutrex Hawaii, and that's how Cyanotech targets its ads to people on the internet.
That is great news! And by the way, O'Melveny & Myers LLP has a great reputation for independence and integrity in corporate law. Everyone should be pleased that they have this assignment in connection with the Special Commitee's review. These are the firm's corporate law attorneys, not the firm's trial lawyers who defended Skilling.
David Mulder seems like a fine fellow, but I wonder what liability he might potentially be facing since Meridian's lawsuit relates to fraud, and outside directors can be held accountable for out-of-pocket expenses in a settlement or judgment that is not completely covered by a company or its insurance. See Enron or WorldCom. I would think that fraud is not covered by the company's insurance.
It's interesting, but yesterday we had close friends over for dinner, and one of them is a young man who has risen high at Schwab in Silicon Valley. He has studied his butt off for years to get where he is, and when I mentioned to him that the Chairman of the Board of Cyanotech had donated millions to a non-profit, and the non-profit had turned around and invested in Cyanotech -- and even before I could go further into the details -- he said, "That is a major fraud. He'll go to jail."
This publication ran a story which included a short interview with Scott Shuda yesterday about the lawsuit. Meridian is "asking for Davis to be removed and replaced. It is also requesting money for the chairman's violations and attorney fees." At the end, PBN said that it had "reached out to Cyanotech for comment and information about how to contact Davis." And that was all it said about contacting him.
Yes, it really fits. This will be a jury trial, and I can't see any jury not siding with Meridian on this. There was a clear conflict of interest in appointing Vied to the Board, and allowing him to vote on firing Bailey, and then hiring his recruiting firm to search for a new CEO. I wonder if that means that Bailey could be reinstated as CEO at some point? It seems his removal was illegal.
Meridian has filed another 13D today, and in it is a link to the lawsuit they filed yesterday, and a full copy of their letter to the Board of May 6. This is the first time that we have a copy of the full letter, as previous filings contained only excerpts.
I see this as likely as not benefiting Meridian, or at least showing that it's actions are having an impact. The Mulder appointment is for a limited term; and Meridian's letter to the board said, "Failure to take prompt action could result in personal liability for the Company's directors." Since the Board has not taken prompt action, or action as of yet at least, Director Carlton may have decided, perhaps on the advice of counsel, that resignation is the more prudent action.
One thing that really stands out in the filing is this: "Given the Chairman's long pattern of questionable behavior, and his apparent corrupting influence on both RSF and Cyanotech, Meridian believes it essential that the Chairman be removed from the board of directors of the Company." Meridian says it doesn't want to escalate the situation, but ". . . should the board go silent during this period, it will not be possible for those outside the Company to know that appropriate steps are being taken. This could force unwanted and potentially unnecessary escalation to occur."
And since the board has gone silent, we have this escalation from Meridian: the public revelation of the letter. I do hope the board knows what it is doing, but I've yet to be encouraged that it does. It seems to me that Meridian's concerns merited at least a polite thank you, appropriate for anyone, but especially so for an entity that owns 13% of the company. "We've received your letter, and have taken it under advisement, and will get back with you later."
Ixnay to that.
Well Dr-Rudi, you may be right, but your opinion on what amounts to a safe dosage of astaxanthin is countered by another CEO of an astaxanthin company, David Watumull at Cardax, who has made the study of astaxanthin his life's work. In September, he told a Hawaiian newspaper the following: "I need to take 120 mg today in order to get the amount of astaxanthin I think I need. It's a 12mg capsule, so I need to take 10 capsules." That's what he takes, 120 mg of astaxanthin every day, and he's been taking large dosages for years. He thinks its safe, and he's been studying this stuff for years. Right now, I'm only taking about 30 mg a day. So you see, I may not be as reckless as you think.
Perhaps you are right about the liver. However, a 2002 study showed that Astaxanthin "induced DETOXIFYING enzymes in the liver cells, thereby improving its function at removing harmful contaminants, bacteria, viruses and dead red blood cells" [my emphasis]. The study also showed that Astaxanthin protects the liver from oxidative damage.
Nutritional Outlook, in its "science" section, has a nice article today on astaxanthin research. "Promising early research on astaxanthin looks toward a slew of new health areas."
I am not connected with Cyanotech directly or remotely. I have never been paid by the company. I have never met anyone in the company. I have never been to Hawaii. I'm a retired, 74 year old private investor on the west coast.
Ever get the the impression that the negative posts on this board are coming from someone who once Od'd, and is now in a vegetative state hooked up to life support at a hospital somewhere, and he's in a twilight loop swinging between consciousness and unconsciousness, and sometimes he almost makes it to consciousness but not quite?
NutraIngredients-USA, one of the leading online supplement magazines, has today published an interview by Hank Schultz with Scott Shuda, a principal partner at Meridian, about Meridians push to get Cyanotech to be more active and forthcoming about the direction of the company. "Investor Takes Cyanotech to Task Over Astaxanthin Supply" is the title of the piece. One of the interesting things we learn is that Shuda has a law degree. I was wondering if Meridian Partners was going to get the media involved, and now we have the answer.