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Emerald Group brings New Zealand Natural home

25 October 2004

Emerald Group brings New Zealand Natural home

Emerald Group today announced its purchase of a controlling interest in Sydney-based premiere ice cream company New Zealand Natural. New Zealand Natural ice cream is currently served in over 200 franchised ice cream parlours throughout Australasia and the United Kingdom, with retail sales in excess of $70 million.

Auckland-based Emerald Group owns award-winning premium ice cream maker Emerald Foods, whose brands include Movenpick, Killinchy Gold, Heavenly Treats, Lite Licks, and Chateau Premium. The firm walked away with the supreme award in this year's New Zealand Ice Cream Awards, along with the top export award, another 11 gold medals and 22 silver medals.

Emerald Group founder and CEO Diane Foreman said New Zealand Natural was an iconic New Zealand brand and an excellent fit with the Emerald Foods 'family'.

"It's a very exciting business with huge international growth opportunities, and it's great to have it based back in New Zealand where it belongs."

"The combination of the brand, New Zealand Natural's proven success in retail franchising and Emerald Group's manufacturing strength and expertise means the business is poised to become a formidable force in the international ice cream and related products market," said Ms Foreman.

She said New Zealand Natural is in the process of finalising a master franchisee for the brand in the United States, which would see the opening of 30 to 50 stores within the next 18 months. Negotiations are almost complete for a Vietnamese franchise operation which will commence within the next month. Ms Foreman said plans are also being developed to extend the brand into China, other Asian countries and into Europe.

New Zealand Natural is currently sold in Australia, New Zealand, the United Kingdom, Ireland, Hong Kong and Macau, Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia and Korea.

Ms Foreman said manufacture of all the New Zealand Natural products would be moved over time to Emerald Foods' East Tamaki production facility. This would double in size and involve the creation of another 30 to 40 jobs.

The acquisition is in line with Emerald Foods' aggressive growth strategy which has seen it grow from a zero base in 2002 to NZ$90 million in sales by the end of 2005. The company employs over 100 people at various locations, and exports to 20 countries around the world.

Ms Foreman will join the Board of New Zealand Natural along with Emerald Group Chief Operating Officer, Stewart Alexander. Mr Alexander will become Chief Executive Officer of the combined companies ie Emerald Foods and New Zealand Natural.

Emerald Foods' website is www.icecream.co.nz
New Zealand Natural's website is www.newze alandnatural.com

ENDS

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