NBTY Reports Record Fourth Quarter and Year End Results

BOHEMIA, N.Y., Nov. 6 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- NBTY, Inc. (Nasdaq: NBTY) (http://www.NBTY.com), a leading manufacturer and marketer of nutritional supplements, today announced record results for the fiscal fourth quarter and fiscal year ended September 30, 2002.

For the fiscal fourth quarter ended September 30, 2002, net sales increased 16% to $245 million, compared to $211 million for the fiscal fourth quarter ended September 30, 2001. Net income for the fourth quarter rose 194% to $29 million, or $0.43 per diluted share, compared to net income of $10 million, or $0.15 per diluted share, for the comparable period last year. Included in the results was a one-time recognition of a foreign tax credit. Without this credit, earnings per diluted share would have been $0.36.

For the fiscal year ended September 30, 2002, net sales increased 19.5% to $964 million compared to $807 million for the fiscal year ended September 30, 2001. Net income for fiscal 2002 rose 129% to $96 million, or $1.41 per diluted share, compared to net income of $42 million, or $0.62 per diluted share, last fiscal year. Included in the results were a one-time recognition of a foreign tax credit and the settlement in the price fixing litigation. Without these items, earnings per diluted share would have been $1.14.

NBTY continues to strengthen its balance sheet. For the fiscal year ended September 30, 2002, current assets increased by $36 million to $316 million, total assets increased by $26 million to $735 million, working capital increased by $55 million to $186 million and bank debt was reduced by $83 million to $31 million.

Operations for the Fourth Quarter and Fiscal Year

Sales for the Nature's Bounty wholesale operation increased 30% to $74 million for the fiscal fourth quarter of 2002, compared to $57 million for the previous like quarter. Sales for fiscal year 2002 increased 48% to $291 million, compared to $197 million for fiscal 2001.

The Nature's Bounty wholesale operation capitalized on the continued rise in consumer awareness of the health benefits of nutritional supplements. NBTY's strategy to utilize consumer sales information received from its Vitamin World and direct response/e-commerce operations continues to prove successful in generating increased sales for the mass market, drug chains and supermarkets. By monitoring the market for trends and ideas, NBTY rapidly responds to changes in consumer preference and introduces new products. NBTY continues to outperform its competitors and enhance its market position.

Information Resources Inc. (IRI), which tracks industry-wide sales in the food, drug and mass market sectors for comparative four-week periods, reported that vitamin sales increased 2.7%, 3.5%, 4.6% and 4.8%, respectively, in the drug sector for the four-week periods ended July 14, 2002, August 11, 2002, September 8, 2002 and October 6, 2002, respectively. The Company remains encouraged by these increases and expects to capitalize on improving market conditions.

Vitamin World operations were profitable in the fourth quarter for the first time since March 2000. Sales for the fourth quarter increased 13% to $52 million from $46 million, and sales for fiscal 2002 increased 14% to $199 million from $175 million, compared to the like periods a year ago. Same store sales for the fourth quarter and fiscal year increased 10% and 9%, respectively over prior like periods. The stores have matured, customer traffic was increased and the Company expects this trend to continue. Vitamin World currently has 544 stores in operation nationwide.

Holland & Barrett sales for the fourth quarter increased 16% to $74 million from $64 million, and sales for fiscal 2002 increased 11% to $291 million from $263 million, compared to the like periods a year ago. Holland & Barrett continues to be a leader in the United Kingdom with same store sales increasing 15% and 7% for the fourth quarter and fiscal 2002, respectively over prior like periods. Holland & Barrett currently operates 468 stores in the UK and Ireland.

Revenues from Puritan's Pride direct response/e-commerce operations for the fourth quarter increased 2% to $45 million from $44 million for the fourth quarter last year. Revenues increased 7% to $183 million for fiscal 2002 compared to revenues of $172 million last fiscal year. The Company remains the leader in the direct response and e-commerce sector and the number of products available via catalog and website continues to increase.

NBTY Chairman and CEO, Scott Rudolph, said: "We are pleased that all divisions generated sales increases and contributed to our record results. Our wholesale business increased nearly 50% and played a vital role in our overall rise in revenues. These results reaffirm NBTY's position as the dominant force in the nutritional supplement industry. The expertise of our management team enabled us to quickly react to changing conditions and capitalize on market opportunities. Our financial strength enables us to acquire companies that complement our operations. We remain optimistic about the long-term outlook for the Company."

ABOUT NBTY

NBTY is a leading vertically integrated U.S. manufacturer and distributor of a broad line of high-quality, value-priced nutritional supplements in the United States and throughout the world. The Company markets more than 1,500 products under several brands, including Nature's Bounty(R), Vitamin World(R), Puritan's Pride(R), Holland & Barrett(R), Nutrition Headquarters(R), American Health(R), Nutrition Warehouse(R) and Dynamic Essentials(R).

This release contains certain forward-looking statements within the meaning of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995 with respect to our financial condition, results of operations and business. All of these forward-looking statements, which can be identified by the use of terminology such as "subject to," "believe," "expects," "may," "will," "should," "can," or "anticipates," or the negative thereof, or variations thereon, or comparable terminology, or by discussions of strategy which, although believed to be reasonable, are inherently uncertain. Factors that may affect such forward-looking statements include (i) slow or negative growth in the nutritional supplement industry; (ii) disruptions of business or negative impact on sales and earnings due to acts of war, terrorism, bio-terrorism, or civil unrest; (iii) adverse publicity regarding the consumption of nutritional supplements; (iv) inability to retain customers of companies (or mailing lists) recently acquired; (v) increased competition; (vi) increased costs; (vii) loss or retirement of key members of management; (viii) increases in the cost of borrowings and unavailability of additional debt or equity capital; (ix) unavailability of, or inability to consummate, advantageous acquisitions in the future or the inability of the Company to integrate acquisitions into the mainstream of its business; (x) changes in general worldwide economic and political conditions in the markets in which the Company may compete from time to time; (xi) the inability of the Company to gain and/or hold market share of its wholesale and retail customers; (xii) loss or reduction in ephedra sales; (xiii) unavailability of electricity in certain geographical areas; (xiv) exposure to, expense of defending and resolving, product liability claims and other litigation; (xv) the ability of the Company to successfully implement its business strategy; (xvi) the inability of the Company to manage its retail operations efficiently; (xvii) consumer acceptance of the Company's products; (xviii) uncertainty in negotiating and consummating acquisitions which may be subject to bankruptcy court approval; (xix) the inability of the Company to renew leases on its retail locations; (xx) inability of the Company's retail stores to attain profitability; (xxi) the absence of clinical trials for many of the Company's products; (xxii) sales and earnings volatility and/or trends; (xxiii) the Company's ability to manufacture its products efficiently; (xxiv) the rapidly changing nature of the Internet and on-line commerce; (xxv) fluctuations in foreign currencies, and more particularly the British Pound; (xxvi) import-export controls on sales to foreign countries; (xxvii) the inability of the Company to secure favorable new sites for, and delays in opening, new retail locations; (xxviii) introduction of new federal, state or foreign legislation or regulation or adverse determinations by regulators, and more particularly the Food Supplements Directive and the Traditional Herbal Medicinal Products Directive in Europe; (xxix) the mix of the Company's products and the profit margins thereon; (xxx) the availability and pricing of raw materials; (xxxi) risk factors discussed in the Company's filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission; and (xxxii) other factors beyond the Company's control.

Readers are cautioned not to place undue reliance on forward-looking statements. The Company undertakes no obligation to republish or revise forward-looking statements to reflect events or circumstances after the date hereof or to reflect the occurrences of unanticipated events.

The Company cannot guarantee future results, trends, events, levels of activity, performance or achievements. The Company does not assume a duty to update or revise any of the forward-looking statements as a result of new information, future events or otherwise.

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