Country Life Vitamins Inks Joint Venture Agreement With Kikkoman

HAUPPAUGE, N.Y., March 31, 2005 /PRNewswire via COMTEX/ -- Country Life Vitamins, a family owned company dedicated to nutritional products for a health conscious lifestyle and a leader in the field of nutrition for 35 years, announced today a joint venture agreement with Kikkoman, a family oriented company established in Japan more than 300 years ago by the Mogi and Takanashi families.

The new agreement marks Country Life's continued commitment to good manufacturing practices (GMP), and strengthening its brands. The company will place a special emphasis on continued sales growth to its network of U.S.-based health food stores. Under the arrangement, Country Life will utilize Kikkoman's world-class research and development capabilities and global distribution infrastructure to develop new products and introduce its brands to consumers worldwide. Terms of the agreement were not disclosed.

Halbert Drexler, co-founder and CEO of Country Life said, "Kikkoman is an internationally renowned, family oriented company that shares our business values and quality standards. As a pioneer in the areas of food science, biotechnology, and research into nutraceutical products, this arrangement represents a key opportunity for Country Life to expand its market share in the healthy lifestyle category. We view Kikkoman as an ideal synergistic partner."

"As always, we value our longtime customers, and we are excited and look forward to introducing many new folks around the world to the benefits of our 'Country Life,'" said co-founder Francine Drexler.

Country Life's management team, well respected throughout the industry, will continue in its current role. The company remains family-owned and operated by the executive team of co-founders Halbert and Francine Drexler, and their children, Ryan Drexler and Jodi Drexler-Billet.

"We are committed to maintaining the same high quality standards that our customers have always relied upon," said Ryan Drexler. "From the beginning, our relationships have been built on reliability for the consumer with Country Life's brands, and we fully anticipate that to continue moving forward."

Country Life plans to accelerate its growth as a result of the joint venture. The areas of expansion include its QA/QC lab, marketing, manufacturing, sales and customer service. Throughout 2005, it plans to launch a number of scientific studies of innovative supplements utilizing Kikkoman's research and development capabilities.

"Our efforts to develop innovative new products will begin immediately. Our goal is to continue to deliver excellent products and service to our valued customers," said Jodi Billet-Drexler. "Kikkoman was founded by a family, just like Country Life, so we are very comfortable with the synchronicity we share."

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