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Certified Organics Lifts Sales

Certified Organics Lifts Sales And Announces Rights Issue

Statement made by Dr Earl Stevens, Chairman, Certified Organics Limited

In the last year of its establishment phase Certified Organics recorded an unaudited loss of $2.3 million for the 12 months ending 31 December 2002.

Marketing of the company’s range of pine-extract based products has now commenced and sales revenue during the year increased from $71,000 last year to $741,000.

After the loss of $1.2million at the half-year, the slightly reduced second half loss reflects the benefit of profits coming through on sales, following the initial launch costs.

Certified Organics has now obtained the full range of regulatory consents required to market its certified organic weed control, and home and hygiene products in New Zealand.

The delays, previously reported, in receiving necessary regulatory consents severely hampered our home and garden sales in the first half of the year and also meant we missed last season’s critical sell-in period to commercial customers. Despite this, we sold $240,000 of product in the third quarter and this increased by 68% to over $400,000 in the fourth quarter with repeat orders becoming a feature of trading.

In addition to the organics market, our Organic Interceptor™ weed killer is receiving considerable attention from conventional agriculture and horticulture as they try to minimise levels of chemical residue in key export crops such as kiwifruit.

At the same time as commencing marketing in New Zealand, we have continued to negotiate arrangements with selected major companies for them to register and distribute our products in Europe, North America and Japan. This will ensure that we can extend our operations into these key overseas markets within the next two to three years, without encountering time consuming delays.

The company continues its search for a cornerstone shareholder and is in discussion with a number of local and overseas potential candidates. We remain confident that it is just a matter of time before we secure the desired outcome. In the meantime the company continues with the generous support of certain shareholders and modest funds received from our share placement programme, which closed on 27 December 2002. To fund its immediate growth plans and need for ongoing working capital, the company plans a $1.58 million, one-for-one rights issue at 6 cents. The timing of the issue is currently subject to finalisation with the Stock Exchange.

The money raised by the upcoming rights issue will give us sufficient funds to extend our commercial sales in New Zealand and for launch in Australia later this year.

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