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Yates & The Scotts Company to Combine Operations

SYDNEY, Aug. 14 /PRNewswire-AsiaNet/ --

Combined companies will better serve the Trans Tasman lawn and garden market Yates Ltd. (ASX: YTL) and The Scotts Company (NYSE: SMG), the global leader in the consumer lawn and garden market, said today they have signed a definitive agreement to combine their respective Trans Tasman lawn and garden business operations.

"Yates is synonymous with lawn and garden products in Australia and New Zealand and we're excited to bring our companies together," said Jim Hagedorn, chairman and chief executive officer of Scotts. "Yates not only has the leading brands in its markets, but, like Scotts, has a rich history dating back more than a century, which we deeply respect. The Yates culture is a great match for Scotts and we look forward to joining forces with them later this year."

The transaction, which requires approval from regulators and Yates' shareholders, calls for Scotts to pay Yates up to A$41 million, subject to certain adjustments and is expected to close October 1st. The combined companies will be located Homebush, NSW, where Yates is headquartered.

"With Yates brands leading the way, we have a unique opportunity to strengthen our combined operations in a way that helps to grow the lawn and garden business in all of our Trans Tasman markets," Hagedorn said. "We expect consumers and our retail partners will see immediate benefits from this combination in the form of improved service and even more innovative lawn and garden solutions."

Founded in New Zealand in 1883, Yates' leading brand portfolio includes such names as Thrive(R), Blitzem(R), Dynamic Lifter(R) and Zero(R).

Scotts, which was founded in 1868, is the global leader in the consumer lawn and garden market, with industry-leading brands in the U.S. that include Scotts(R), Miracle-Gro(R), Ortho(R) and Roundup(R). Scotts is also a leader in Europe with brands such as Weedol(R), Evergreen(R), Fertiligene(R), KB(R), Substral(R) and others. In Australia, its brands also include Osmocote(R), Defender(R) and Lawn Builder(R). In 2002, the Company reported worldwide sales of US$1.76 billion.

"This transaction will better enable the Yates brands to realize their full potential in the marketplace and we're excited to join forces with the Scotts team," said David Marginson, managing director of Yates Ltd., who will lead the combined operation. "We're also look forward to working with a company that shares many of the same values we do. Scotts has demonstrated a strong commitment to its communities and has a proven track record of environmental stewardship. This is a great match for the Yates organization and all of our key audiences."

About Scotts

With 2002 sales of $1.76 billion, The Scotts Company is global leader in the consumer lawn and garden market, with a full range of products for professional horticulture as well. The company owns the industry's most recognized brands. In the U.S., the company's Scotts(R), Miracle-Gro(R) and Ortho(R) brands are market leading in their categories, as is the consumer Roundup(R) brand which is mark! eted in North America and most of Europe exclusively by Scotts and owned by Monsanto. Scotts LawnService(R) also is the No. 2 company in the "do-it-for-me" lawn service market. In Europe, Scotts' brands include Weedol(R) Pathclear(R), Evergreen(R), Levington(R) Miracle-Gro(R), KB(R), Fertiligene(R) and Substral(R).

About Yates

Yates is the leading consumer gardening and commercial horticultural branded goods company in Australia and New Zealand. It markets and distributes a range of branded horticultural products through its Yates Consumer and Yates Commercial divisions. Yates' headquarters are in Sydney and it has operations throughout Australasia.

The Yates brand has been in existence for 116 years in Australia and 120 years in New Zealand and is supported by other well-known brands such as "Hortico", "Thrive", "Gro-Plus", "Zero", "Dynamic Lifter", "Aquasol", "Ratsak", "Plassay" and "Watkins". Products include seeds, bulbs, plant protection, plant food, growing media, garden merchandise, gardening service and propagated plants.

Yates employs approximately 345 people in Australia and New Zealand.


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