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First To List On The New AX

Comvita Announces Intention To Be Among First To List On The New AX

Complementary health products market leader and Unlisted Securities Market issuer Comvita New Zealand plans to be one of the first companies to list on the NZX's new AX (Alternative Exchange) when it opens in August.

Riding high after winning a prestigious Trade New Zealand export award last week, Comvita is confident listing on the new market will lift the company's profile for the benefit of investors with an interest in the growth of natural health products.

"Listing on the AX will make us more public and give us better access to capital," according to Bill Bracks, chairman of Comvita.

Speaking from the company's Bay of Plenty headquarters today, Bracks says Comvita's Board has agreed to the new listing as part of the company's continuing growth strategy.

"If we continue to grow at our historical rate, there will be no problem in accessing high levels of funding where that is necessary" he asserts.

"There will be more share trades and wider shareholdings which will be linked to higher profits. A broader shareholder base will become a strength of the company."

Comvita's CEO Graeme Boyd agrees and adds that the company needs further investment.

"The USM has provided a vehicle for shareholders to value and trade their shares," says Boyd. "It succeeded in that. We've gone from two shareholders in 1998 to 132 in 2003."

Since listing on the USM, Comvita's shares have been trading around $1.15 and $1.20.

Bill Bracks points out that the AX is being developed by the NZX (formerly the NZSE) to facilitate a more cost-effective, flexible public capital raising facility for New Zealand companies. He says Comvita is right behind the NZX in its efforts to create a market that will act as a catalyst for growth in New Zealand's capital markets.

"As an unlisted company, we feel the AX offers major advantages for Comvita," he says. "Aside from the obvious advantages of lower costs and streamlined processes, an AX listing will give us more liquidity."

Bracks is keen to see Comvita take a lead in listing on the new market.

"If we're not the first to list, we'll certainly be the first natural health products company to list."


Comvita Fact Sheet follows

Fact Sheet Updated June 19, 2003

Comvita New Zealand Limited Comvita had its beginnings in the beekeeping interests and nutritional philosophies of its founder Claude Stratford. Claude (92) started the business at the age of 64. Using nature's gifts from the honeybee as key ingredients, Comvita makes natural healthcare products to the highest quality standards.

The company's philosophy is based on the belief that prevention is better than cure. This philosophy is reflected in its products for immune-boosting, digestive health and general wellness. Much of its new product development is focused on holistic health solutions that address conditions synonymous with ageing.

Comvita's manufacturing plant at Paengaroa, in the Bay of Plenty, is licensed and audited to the internationally-recognised GMP (Good Manufacturing Practice) standard.

Today, Comvita employs more than 80 people in New Zealand, Australia and Japan. Its specialist teams work alongside scientists and research organisations to create safe, effective health solutions based on the very best natural ingredients New Zealand has to offer.

Comvita has been the recipient of many awards including Kiwifruit Coast Business of the Year Best Export Business 1991, BOP Export Institute Exporter of the Year 1991 and '99, NZ Honey Food & Ingredient Innovation Award 1994, Air New Zealand Export Excellence Regional Exporter 1996, British Airways Asian Export Award 1996, Best Regional Business of the Year 2001 and the 2003 Consumer Products Exporter of the Year in the Trade New Zealand National Export Awards.

A listing on the Unlisted Securities Market in September 2002 - with a fully imputed one for six bonus issue - signaled a major step forward for Comvita. Sales in 2002 were up 14 per cent on the year before with international sales growing strongly.

Comvita is currently taking steps toward listing on the NZX's new AX market.

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