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Heinz Announces Joint Venture In The Philippines



PITTSBURGH, Pa. and MANILA, Philippines, March 1, 2000 RNewswire-Asianet/-- H. J. Heinz Company (NYSE: HNZ) today announced that it has signed an agreement for a joint venture with the Philippines' leading ketchup producer, Nutri Asia of Manila, Philippines. The transaction is subject to customary regulatory approvals in the Philippines and is expected to be completed in early May. The new joint venture will be named Heinz UFC Philippines.

"We have long admired the strength and popularity of Nutri Asia's ketchup brands in the Philippines. Their brands, which include UFC, are the leading names in the Philippines' well- developed local ketchup category. This joint venture will provide an excellent platform for developing and expanding Heinz products in the Philippines," noted William R. Johnson, Heinz president and chief executive officer.

"Heinz's growth strategy is to globalize its core categories, such as ketchup and sauces, and to invest in businesses with strong number-one and number-two brands that bring economies of scale. We are excited that this line of leading Philippine sauce products now will enhance the Heinz portfolio of powerful international businesses. By investing in the Philippines at this time, Heinz is recognizing the growth potential of this vibrant economy in Asia, with a population of nearly 76 million people and a GDP expected to grow this year at 3 percent."

Heinz will enjoy excellent distribution coverage in both retail and foodservice outlets through the strength of the well-established local company.

Joselito D. Campos Jr., chairman and chief executive officer of Nutri Asia, commented on the joint venture: "We look forward to the superior manufacturing technology that Heinz can bring and to working closely with Heinz to expand our business in new markets."

Heinz UFC will employ more than 200 people currently working at Nutri Asia. Existing company manufacturing facilities - located in Tarlac, Alabang and Davao - will become part of the joint venture.

Heinz ketchup is the world's leading brand with US$2 billion in annual sales worldwide.

ABOUT HEINZ: With sales over US$9 billion, H. J. Heinz Company is one of the world's leading marketers of branded foods to supermarkets and away-from-home eating establishments. Its 50 companies operate in some 200 countries, offering more than 57 hundred varieties. Among the company's famous brands are Heinz, StarKist, Ore-Ida, 9-Lives, Weight Watchers, Wattie's, Plasmon, Farley's, Smart Ones, The Budget Gourmet, Linda McCartney, San Marco, Go Ahead!, Bagel Bites, John West, Petit Navire, Skippy, Kibbles 'n Bits, Pounce, Wagwells, Nature's Recipe, Orlando, ABC, Olivine and Pudliszki. Information on Heinz is available at SOURCE H. J. Heinz Company CONTACT: MEDIA: Ted Smyth, SVP-Corp. & Govt. Affairs, 412-456-5780; Debbie Foster, Director-Corp. Comm., 412-456-5778; or Jack Kennedy, GM-Strategic Comm., 412-456-5923; INVESTORS: Jack Runkel, VP- Investor Relations, 412-456-6034, all of Heinz

Company News On-Call: or fax,

800-758-5804, ext. 575757

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