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Comvita 33% Sales Growth in Australia

News Release
For Immediate Release
April 4, 2005

Comvita 33% Sales Growth in Australia

Australia is proving to be a lucrative hunting ground for natural health products company Comvita with sales from the consumer products division in Australia increasing 33% to $3.75 million in the 2004 year with further growth predicted.

Comvita will also launch ApiNate™, its honey-based wound dressing in Australia next month.

Manager of Comvita's Consumer Division Scott Coulter says the key to success has been moving away from using distributors in each state and putting their own people on the ground. Comvita has five staff based in Australia marketing Comvita products.

"We made a change to a direct selling model in late 2003 and results show that taking over our marketing has been a very successful move. Our brand is now recognized and understood."

The focus has been on building direct relationships with key media. Having control over marketing also makes it easier to coordinate sales promotions and advertising.

He says the company has also benefited from the growth of retail chains and health outlets.

"The whole health market segment is getting stronger."

Coulter says Australia is a very tough place for New Zealand companies to be successful but Comvita is one of the few that is doing well due, he believes, to a carefully planned, step-by-step approach with long term goals.

"We have also put a lot of effort into timing our advance into the market," he says.

Coulter says the TGA regulatory regime in Australia is extremely tough but Comvita has long experience in dealing with regulations and has developed a degree of institutional knowledge in that area.

"We have a very full product launch programme in Australia for 2005."

Comvita's Sydney-based Australian Manager Di Ward says there's a lot of potential still untapped.

"We really have just touched the surface; there is just so much more to build on."

ENDS

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