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42 Below Set for Huge Growth on World Stage

42 Below Set for Huge Growth on World Stage

Auckland, 13 December 2006 - Three years ago 42 BELOW listed on the New Zealand Stock Exchange – then, a very small Kiwi company with an ambition for success on the world stage.

Though the listing was fully subscribed, the fledging company did cop some flak from various quarters, with observers calling it too young, too small and too new for an IPO.

Today the critics were answered as Bacardi completed its take over of 42 BELOW, valuing the company at $138 million.

42 BELOW Chief Vodka Bloke Geoff Ross says, “The past few years have been a fantastic ride and we feel incredibly grateful for the support of our shareholders, staff, partners and friends of 42 BELOW.

“All sorts of New Zealanders have supported the 42 BELOW story and we are thrilled it has been a great experience for them. I know one shareholder who will make $20,000 on her investment, which will cover a vital operation she has to have. We hear a lot of pretty neat stories like this.

“It is because of Kiwis’ support that 42 BELOW, the brand and the business, have grown like they have.''

42 BELOW Chairman Grant Baker says, ''The listing on the New Zealand Stock Exchange has been a great experience for us – it gave us the capital to set out on the world stage and build the brand into what it has become today.

“Sure, at the time of the listing it was a very new proposition for New Zealand investors. But it has been a positive one. And we hope our listing will act as a case study to encourage more high-value, high-end brands being created and launched from this country,” he adds.

“Brands have potential to offer far greater value than the more traditional bricks-and-mortar style investments that have been typical of New Zealand's past. And brands that have international appeal are especially valuable.”

NZX CEO Mark Weldon says, "The 42 Below experience clearly demonstrates the value that New Zealand public markets will attach to brand, design and global ambition.

"It shows that New Zealand investors will support innovative ventures and provide them with the capital they need to succeed – which 42 BELOW has done with acumen and style.

"We hope to see many others follow in the footsteps of Geoff Ross and the team at 42 BELOW – building the confidence of our markets and our country that we can cut it with the best in the world."

Bacardi isn’t stopping with its cash purchase of 42 BELOW. The world’s biggest privately-held spirits company plans to invest heavily in the brand, further building its presence on the world stage. Bacardi has an impressive track record for successfully building brands – Martini, Bombay Sapphire and Grey Goose among them.

Geoff Ross says, “New Zealand doesn't have any really global brands apart from the All Blacks or Team New Zealand, and that’s a challenge in itself. With ourselves and Bacardi, we will really start to see 42 BELOW become a very prominent New Zealand brand worldwide.”

42 BELOW recently won a New Thinking Award at the 2006 Trade and Enterprises Export Awards. Last year it won emerging exporter of the year and the Deloitte Fast 50 Fastest Growing Company Award. Geoff Ross also won Marketing Magazine’s Marketer of The Year Award.

But Geoff adds, ''While people often say 42 BELOW is a marketing story, what's on the inside of the bottle is just as important as what's on the outside – and the fact we’re the world’s most awarded vodka is testimony to that.

42 BELOW vodka has won more taste awards than any other vodka on the planet, including the 'Grand Slam of gold medals at all four major spirit awards this year, in addition to a host of gongs for its other spirit brands, including SOUTH Gin.

So what happens to the brand’s edgy marketing approach under Bacardi?

“More of the same,” Geoff says. “Literally a lot more, as we scale up our promotional activity. And there’s absolutely no chance of 42 BELOW losing its New Zealand identity.”

The entire staff of 42 BELOW will stay and the production remains in New Zealand. 42 BELOW will move into bigger premises next year, taking over a building in Auckland’s Britomart complex to accommodate its growth.

ENDS

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