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Omega Protein Reports 2009 Results

HOUSTON, March 10 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- Omega Protein Corporation (NYSE: OME), the nation's leading producer of Omega-3 fish oil and specialty fish meal products, today reported net loss of $6.2 million ($0.33 per share) for the fiscal year ended December 31, 2009, compared with net income of $12.6 million ($0.69 per share) for the year ended December 31, 2008.

Revenues for the year ended December 31, 2009 were $164.9 million compared with revenues of $177.4 million for the year ended December 31, 2008.  Omega Protein recorded operating loss of $4.3 million for the year ended December 31, 2009, versus operating income of $23.5 million for the year ended December 31, 2008.

For the fourth quarter ended December 31, 2009, the Company recognized revenues of $43.0 million, compared with $39.7 million in revenues for the fourth quarter ended December 31, 2008. Omega Protein recorded operating loss of $2.4 million for the 2009 fourth quarter, versus operating income of $2.5 million for the 2008 fourth quarter. The Company had net loss of $2.2 million ($0.12 per share) for the fourth quarter ended December 31, 2009, compared with net income of $0.8 million ($0.04 per share) for the fourth quarter ended December 31, 2008.

The Company's 2009 gross profit results, in comparison to 2008, primarily reflect decreased fish oil sales pricing of 35% in 2009 partially due to a substantial reduction in demand from the Chilean aquaculture industry.  The decrease in fish oil sales pricing coincides with significant price decreases in other commodity markets from 2008 to 2009. The decrease in fish oil sales pricing also contributed to the decrease in revenue from 2008 to 2009, but was partially offset by a 9% increase in total quantities of product sold.

During 2009, the Company repaid $30.6 million of debt outstanding under a prior credit facility, representing all of the Company's non-Fisheries Finance Program bank debt, and obtained a new credit facility with Wells Fargo Bank, N.A.  The new facility consists of a 3-year revolving credit facility of up to $35 million, including a $7.5 million sub-limit for the issuance of standby letters of credit.  The new loan facility is secured by substantially all of the Company's assets except for those already pledged in connection with existing federal Fisheries Finance Program loans.  At December 31, 2009, the Company had no amounts outstanding under the new credit facility.

During 2009, the Company received a federal hurricane assistance grant of $2.7 million from the State of Mississippi, net of fees, related to the impact of Hurricane Katrina, which occurred during 2005.  Additionally, the Company incurred $1.4 million of interest expense related to interest rate swaps which became ineffective during the period as a result of debt repayments related to the refinancing of the Company's credit facility and $0.4 million related to the loss resulting from debt refinancing.  Excluding these items from the results of operations, net loss for the year ended December 31, 2009 would have been approximately $6.8 million ($0.36 a share).

About Omega Protein

Omega Protein Corporation is the nation's largest manufacturer of heart-healthy fish oils containing Omega-3 fatty acids for human consumption, as well as specialty fish meals and fish oil used as value-added ingredients in aquaculture, swine and other livestock feeds.  Omega Protein makes its products from menhaden, an Omega-3 rich fish that is not utilized as seafood, but which is abundantly available along the U.S. Gulf of Mexico and Atlantic Coasts.

SPECIAL NOTE REGARDING FORWARD-LOOKING STATEMENTS: The statements contained in this press release that are not historical facts are forward-looking statements that involve a number of risks and uncertainties.  The actual results of future events described in any of these forward-looking statements could differ materially from those stated in the forward-looking statements.  Important factors that could cause actual results to be materially different from those forward-looking statements include, among others: (1) the Company's ability to meet its raw material requirements through its annual menhaden harvest, which is subject to fluctuations due to natural conditions over which the Company has no control, such as varying fish population, fish oil yields, adverse weather conditions and disease; (2) the impact of worldwide supply and demand relationships on prices for the Company's products; (3) Omega Protein's expectations regarding demand and pricing for its products proving to be incorrect; (4) fluctuations in the Company's quarterly operating results due to the seasonality of the Company's business and its deferral of inventory sales based on worldwide prices for competing products; and (5) the impact of the uncertain economic conditions, both in the United States and globally.  These and other factors are described in further detail in Omega's filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission, including its reports on Form 10-K, Form 10-Q and Form 8-K.  The Company also posts its latest internally generated price list for various products on its Company website,  Pricing and product availability information disclosed in the price list are subject to change or discontinuance without prior notice, and the Company undertakes no obligation to update such information.

                             OMEGA PROTEIN CORPORATION
                              Statement of Operations
                                             Three Months    Twelve Months
                                                Ended            Ended
                                             December 31,     December 31,  
                                             ------------    --------------
                                             2009    2008    2009      2008
                                             ----    ----    ----      ----
                                              (in thousands, except per
                                                    share amounts)
    Revenues                               $43,013 $39,668 $164,861 $177,412
    Cost of sales                           41,409  31,411  156,676  134,387
                                            ------  ------  -------  -------
    Gross profit                             1,604   8,257    8,185   43,025
    Selling, general and administrative
     expense                                 3,037   4,436   12,591   16,310
    Research and development expense           397     477    1,444    1,757
    (Insurance recoveries and other
     proceeds) losses relating to natural
     disaster and other, net                   602     807   (1,564)   1,415
                                               ---     ---   ------    -----
    Operating (loss) income                 (2,432)  2,537   (4,286)  23,543
    Interest income (expense), net            (455)   (903)  (4,333)  (3,779)
    Loss resulting from debt refinancing      (385)      -     (385)       -
    Other income (expense), net               (168)    (94)    (464)    (111)
                                              ----     ---     ----     ----
    (Loss) income before income taxes       (3,440)  1,540   (9,468)  19,653
    (Benefit) provision for income taxes    (1,255)    700   (3,270)   7,077
                                            ------     ---   ------    -----
    Net (loss) income                      $(2,185)   $840  $(6,198) $12,576
                                           =======    ====  =======  =======
    Basic (loss) earnings per share         $(0.12)  $0.04   $(0.33)   $0.69
                                            ======   =====   ======    =====
    Weighted average common shares
     outstanding                            18,724  18,710   18,715   18,298
                                            ======  ======   ======   ======
    Diluted (loss) earnings per share       $(0.12)  $0.04   $(0.33)   $0.68
                                            ======   =====   ======    =====
    Weighted average common shares and
     potential common share equivalents
     outstanding                            18,724  18,766   18,715   18,581
                                            ======  ======   ======   ======
                              OMEGA PROTEIN CORPORATION
                               Condensed Balance Sheet
                                               December 31,   December 31,
                                                   2009           2008
                                               ------------   ------------
                                                (in thousands, except per
                                                      share amounts)
      Current assets                              $83,889       $123,665
      Property and equipment, net                 110,625        106,181
      Other assets                                  3,530          2,735
                                                    -----          -----
        Total assets                             $198,044       $232,581
                                                 ========       ========
      Current liabilities                         $22,093        $26,853
      Long-term debt, less current
       maturities                                  23,540         51,312
      Capital lease obligation, net
       of current portion                           1,265          1,634
      Deferred tax liability, net
       of current portion                           4,540          3,005
      Pension liabilities, net and
       other                                        9,580         10,220
      Stockholders' equity                        137,026        139,557
                                                  -------        -------
        Total liabilities and
         stockholders' equity                    $198,044       $232,581
                                                 ========       ========
    Book value per share
     outstanding                                    $7.32          $7.46
                                                    =====          =====

SOURCE Omega Protein Corporation

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SOURCE Omega Protein Corporation
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