EL DORADO HILLS, Calif., March 19, 2007 /PRNewswire-FirstCall via COMTEX/ -- NutraCea (NTRZ) , a world leader in stabilized rice bran research and technology, announced today it has entered into distribution agreements with all European members of the Azelis Group S.A., a large multinational conglomerate comprised of a network of market leaders specializing in Life Sciences, which includes the pharmaceutical, veterinary, food and cosmetics sectors. The agreements signed with each of the Azelis operating units will open up distribution for NutraCea's stabilized rice bran products in over 27 countries in eight regions of the world.
"On behalf of our members, we are pleased to be working with NutraCea and distributing their products especially within the life sciences area, which includes the food, nutraceutical and veterinary sectors. The members of our network embrace new and evolving technologies. We introduce to them to enable our customers to deliver cutting edge solutions for the end user. Each of our regions has its own degreed Food Technology Specialists, which includes a staff of 110 colleagues (of which more than 70 are food technologists) demonstrating the importance of these activities to the Azelis Group," said Tonio Grassmann, Azelis Food&Health Specialties, Group Coordinator.
The Azelis Group European members are: Azelis UK, Broste LTD. which covers Scotland, England and Ireland; Azelis Scandinavia Broste A/S -- which includes Norway, Denmark, Finland, Sweden, Lithuania, Estonia and Latvia; Azelis Italia -- Giulio Gross -- which covers Italy; Azelis Spain -- Impex Quimica SA -- for Spain; Azelis Benelux -- including Belgium, Netherlands and Luxemburg; Azelis France -- Arnaud SA -- for France; Azelis Germany -- Kraemer & Martin -- encompassing Germany, Austria and Switzerland; and Azelis PECO -- Arnaud SA -- covering Greece, Croatia, Poland, Hungary, Rumania, Czech Republic, Slovak Republic and the Ukraine.
"These distributorship arrangements are strategically very important for NutraCea," commented Brad Edson, CEO of NutraCea. "Over the last year it has become increasingly clear that the demand for Stabilized Rice Bran is international in scope, but it has also become apparent there is value in leveraging off of large existing distribution networks, locally established throughout the world, to service that demand. Agreements such as this allow us to build cost effective sales and distribution channels within the specific countries that we are servicing. We thank the management team at Azelis Group for its commitment to NutraCea."
Mr. Hans Udo Wenzel, CEO of Azelis, noted, "The opportunity to bring the still relatively untapped food and health benefits of NutraCea's Stabilized Rice Bran to our various members fits our corporate goal to provide new and exciting food and health care products to the European region through our broad-based distribution network. We expect an enthusiastic reception from all of our members as they offer NutraCea's exceptional products to their customers, and we eagerly await the planned entry of NutraCea's European plants, which will provide substantial savings in transportation costs that will benefit our customers."
"We are pleased to sign distributorship agreements with the full complement of European Azelis Group members, and are grateful for the assistance we have received from all of those who have been instrumental in assisting NutraCea to secure such contracts. This relationship with Azelis has extended NutraCea's reach throughout Europe with a strong distribution partner. By signing these types of agreements, it enables NutraCea to build a solid foundation of demand throughout Europe through a single entity. The Azelis Group is well known for supplying its customers, many of whom are food companies, with the most cutting edge technologies to remain at the forefront of their respective marketplace," said Kody Newland, Senior Vice President of Sales of NutraCea. "We are excited about the possibilities of growing NutraCea's international presence by working with the Azelis Group."
About Azelis Group S.A.
Azelis is Europe's fastest growing distributor of specialty chemicals, polymers and related services. It was formed to meet the different local needs of customers and suppliers across Europe and was established in 2001 through the merger of Novorchem in Italy and Arnaud in France. The strategy is to grow by acquiring go-ahead specialist chemical distribution companies that are already successful in their own right, providing them with the means and resources to grow in their own geographic region and to take advantage of the synergies of being part of a larger group. The areas of specialty focus include Life Sciences (Pharmaceutical, Veterinary, Food, Cosmetics), Coatings (Paints, Inks, Adhesives, Varnishes), Polymer Processes (Standard polymers, Engineering Plastics, Rubber, Composites and Plastics Additives) and Chemical Industries (Performance, Industrial Chemicals). By the end of 2006, Azelis was comprised of 32 companies operating in Benelux, Baltic States, Croatia, Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Italy, Norway, Poland, Romania, Slovakia, Spain, Sweden, UK and the Ukraine. In addition, Azelis opened an office in Shanghai in 2005. Turnover has grown from Eur348 million in 2001 to over Eur900 million in 2006 and the group has around 860 staff.
NutraCea is a world leader in stabilized rice bran technology. Through its wholly owned subsidiary RiceX, the Company manufacturers as well as distributes products and food ingredients made from rice bran through its proprietary technology and processes. The Company has developed intellectual property to create a range of proprietary product formulations, delivery systems and whole food nutrition products. NutraCea's proprietary technology enables the creation of food and nutrition products from rice bran, normally a wasted by-product of standard rice processing. In addition to its whole foods products, NutraCea develops families of health promoting "nutraceuticals," including natural arthritic relief and cholesterol-lowering products. More information can be found in the Company's filings with the SEC and you can visit the NutraCea web site: http://www.NutraCea.com .
This release contains forward-looking statements. Actual results may differ from those projected due to a number of risks and uncertainties, including, but not limited to (i) the possibility that the distribution network proves less effective than contemplated for the Company's products, (ii) the possibility that the Company will be delayed in completing additional manufacturing facilities or otherwise providing product, (iii) the possibility that some or all of the other pending matters considered by the Company may not proceed as contemplated, and (iv) the matters specified in the Company's filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission. These statements are made based upon current expectations that are subject to risk and uncertainty. The Company does not undertake to update forward-looking statements in this news release to reflect actual results, changes in assumptions or changes in other factors affecting such forward-looking information. Assumptions and other information that could cause results to differ from those set forth in the forward-looking information can be found in the Company's filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission, including the company's most recent periodic report.