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VTL’s vending machines offer healthy options

VTL’s vending machines offer healthy options

Friday, October 27: There is nothing difficult about delivering healthy food through vending machines, says Gary Stevens, Chairman of vending machine company VTL Group Ltd.

“We run “healthy option” programmes through our machines that are proving popular with organisations such as schools, hospitals and universities, although we are finding a better uptake for this in Australia and the United States than in New Zealand.”

Mr Stevens says the company’s 24seven vending machines can offer up to 40 different products, giving customers a wide choice of food and drinks.

“Our machines are monitored electronically so we know what is selling and when, which gives us the ability to know what people are eating and when. Clearly if people are buying healthy foods our franchise operators will be making it available to their customers.

“Any Government-imposed restrictions on what can be sold through machines will be good for our business, but not for those vending operations focused only on selling their own fizzy drinks and snack foods. We can also apply the experience we have gained in vending ‘healthy options’ in the US and Australia.”

He says that VTL’s interests in the US, held through Service America Inc, give it access to some 37,000 vending machines in that market, where the emphasis is on traditional snack food lines, but with interest growing in healthy food options.

“Clearly our business is about giving customers what they want, but we are also finding that there is a growing demand for healthier food lines.”

He says the company’s other product line is automated Shop24 units. These are about the size of small containers and can hold up to 200 items of the kind offered by traditional manned convenience shops.

The company is currently installing these in unmanned ESSO petrol stations in France and Belgium and in universities in America and Australia.

“These units have the capacity to sell hot and cold food lines and we are finding in university sites in particular there is a keen interest in ensuring that “healthy options” are available to customers.”

Commenting on reports that Government agencies are seeking to restrict the products available through vending machines, Mr Stevens said there were restrictions in the US and Australian markets in which the company operated and these were particularly focused on schools.

“Clearly the problem of obesity is much bigger than the issue of what vending machines are allowed to sell, as they are only a relatively small part of the food delivery chain.”

He said interested employers and governmentthe agencies concerned should consult with independent international vending machine businesses such as VTL if they wanted to take advantage of their experience in providing healthy vending options, or an appropriate mix of product.


VTL’s US offshoot pays down $US5 million in debt

Auckland, 2 October 2006 – VTL Group Limited (NZX:VTL) today announced that its American associate company All Seasons Services had paid down $US5 million in bank loans following the sale of non-core assets.

Chairman of VTL Group Ltd, Gary Stevens, said the assets sales were a planned part of the restructuring of All Seasons around the franchise model based on VTL’s technology and business systems.

Mr Stevens said All Seasons expected to be in a position to pay down a further $US4 million in December following the settlement of other sales.

“The sales of the non-core businesses were achieved at prices above their book value and will make a positive contribution to All Seasons’ result for the six months to December 31.

“As we have announced, All Seasons has been earning an average EBITDA of $NZ1.6 million a month for the past four months and the restructuring of its operations is running to plan.”

VTL Group currently has a 17.1% interest in All Seasons, but expects to exercise a convertible note in the current financial year that will lift its shareholding to a controlling 60% stake when conditions prove favourable.


ENDS

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