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Shareholding In Kiwifruit Nutraceutical Company

Media Release

Friday, 14 May 2004

Seeka buys cornerstone shareholding in kiwifruit nutraceutical company

Seeka Kiwifruit Industries Limited is to purchase a 20% share of Vital Foods Distribution Limited, owners of the DigestezyTM range of kiwifruit-based nutraceuticals.

Vital Foods is a world leader in the manufacture and marketing of kiwifruit derived nutraceutical products. Based on the kiwifruit enzyme complex Zyactinaseª, their DigestezyTM products have been successfully marketed in Germany and Australia as a natural form of relief for digestive disorders. DigestezyTM will be launched into Asia, America, the United Kingdom and New Zealand later this year.

Initial studies suggest that DigestezyTM has significant efficacy against a range of digestive disorders including gastroesopagael reflux disease - GERD - and irritable bowel syndrome - IBS. In developed countries digestive disorders occur in a significant proportion of the population.

"Our investment in Digestezyª adds a new dimension to Seeka. As a cornerstone shareholder of Vital Foods Distribution, Seeka strengthens its sphere of operations to include the processing and marketing of kiwifruit derivative products," says Seeka's managing director Tony de Farias.

"Seeka's investment will bring industry experience to Vital Foods' operations, strengthen its commercial governance and enhance its equity position.

"DigestezyTM has proven its commercial viability in the German and Australian retail markets with very promising early sales. Launches planned in New Zealand, Asia, UK and America will provide the company with an exciting opportunity to generate additional value from non-export-quality kiwifruit.

"By investing in Vital Foods, Seeka has captured a new profitable revenue stream while retaining our operational focus on our core orchard and post harvest kiwifruit operations," says de Farias.

Background information

Vital Foods and DigestezyTM Vital Foods is a leader in the production and marketing of freeze-dried fruit products and is the manufacturer of the award-winning Kiwi Crush, the 100% natural frozen fruit drink available in supermarkets throughout New Zealand and being used by many hospitals as a primary treatment for digestive dysfunction.

Studies suggest their Digestezyª range of nutraceuticals has significant efficacy against a range of digestive disorders including gastroesophageal reflux disease - GERD - and irritable bowel syndrome - IBS.

In developed countries, IBS is known to effect up to 25% of women and 12% of men under the age of 50, and to date there is no effective medication to treat this disease. GERD is estimated to affect at least 7% of the total world's population.

Vital Foods has a worldwide distribution network in place and plans to launch DigestezyTM into Asia, America, UK and New Zealand later this year.

Background information Seeka Processing more than 15 per cent of New Zealand's total kiwifruit production, Seeka is New Zealand's largest integrated kiwifruit supplier servicing the Bay of Plenty's major growing regions of Te Puke, Tauranga and Katikati.

For the current harvest 2004, Seeka is employing more than 1200 people to pick, pack, store and deliver more than 11 million trays of kiwifruit to Zespri's international markets.

Seeka's has a record of corporate governance and transparent business processes, and is listed on the NZAX.


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