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Leading distributor expands in New Zealand

NEWS RELEASE 5 July 2001

Leading distributor expands in New Zealand

Leading Australasian importer and distributor Stuart Alexander says its confidence in New Zealand as a market has prompted its business expansion in this country.

Stuart Alexander (NZ) Limited has acquired the business of the Continental Cigar Company which distributes the Van Hartog and Henri Wintermans brands in this country.

The Australian parent company, Stuart Alexander & Co Pty Limited, has been a major distributor of premium branded products for more than 115 years. It has distributed Henri Wintermans’ cigars for over fifty years in Australia and also distributes fine chocolates, confectionery, hot beverages and cooking needs, including TABASCO sauce and Betty Crocker cake mixes.

The company entered the New Zealand marketplace last year with the acquisition of two brands, including the icon TABASCO.

Chief Executive Garry Browne says the purchase of the Continental Cigar Company is part of the company’s plans for a strengthened market presence with a broader range of products in New Zealand.

“There are definite synergies in having the same brands across both the New Zealand and Australian markets,” says Mr Browne.

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“Geographic barriers are shrinking and combining markets such as New Zealand and Australia continues to make sense from a marketing perspective.

“We are also confident that while the New Zealand market is smaller than Australia, the brands we are working with are strong and have further growth potential.

“Retailers will also benefit from the size and marketing clout of Stuart Alexander,” says Mr Browne.

All employees of the Continental Cigar Company have been offered jobs with Stuart Alexander.

Ends.

For further information contact:

Garry Browne

Chief Executive

Stuart Alexander & Co Pty Ltd

Tel: 00-61-2-9697 6700

Issued by Professional Public Relations

Contact: Sally Haysom

Tel: 09- 979 2000

“To establish, build and develop consumer brands with a long term view

that they will become household names”

- BACKGROUNDER -

With its uniquely Australian origins, Stuart Alexander & Company Pty Ltd has been successfully marketing and distributing some of the world's favourite household names across the nation for more than 115 years. The company is one of Australia’s oldest privately owned companies, with revenues of over $100 million per year.

The company entered the New Zealand marketplace last year with the acquisition of two brands, including the icon TABASCO.

Stuart Alexander supports its stable of premium quality international brands with:

- An expert understanding of the Australasian retail industry

- Experienced and highly motivated executives

- Substantial financial strength and resources

- An impeccable reputation

The Stuart Alexander mission is to pro-actively market and distribute an exclusive range of fast moving consumer brands through wholesalers, chains, supermarkets, independent grocery outlets, as well as the hospitality sector and duty free channels.

In Australia Stuart Alexander & Co supplies top quality products in five retail categories - Sugar Confectionery, Chocolate Confectionery, Cooking Needs, Hot Beverages, Tobacco and Cigars.

In New Zealand icon brand TABASCO Sauce is a household name.

- The traditional TABASCO Red Pepper Sauce is a pure liquid pepper sauce made from Tabasco mash. Currently available in three convenient sizes, TABASCO Red Pepper Sauce livens up dishes from appetisers, soups and salads, to main dishes and accompaniments. TABASCO Red Pepper Sauce is found in every supermarket in New Zealand and virtually every restaurant. Two new flavours, - TABASCO Green Pepper Sauce, and TABASCO Garlic Pepper Sauce are exciting new additions to the range.

Stuart Alexander has over 170 employees with more than half involved in sales and customer service. Customers are serviced by the most efficient system, direct via wholesalers. It is estimated that Stuart Alexander’s sales staff service over 35 000 customers annually across Australia and New Zealand.

For more information on Stuart Alexander & Co Pty Ltd check out www.stuartalexander.com.au


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