General Merchandise/HBC

Scripto-Tokai, Calico Brands Strike Deal

Transfers sales, marketing, distribution of Scripto products to Calico

ONTARIO, Calif. -- The management of two leading suppliers of pocket and utility lighters have announced their intention to enter into an agreement transferring sales, marketing and distribution functions of all Scripto-branded products to Calico Brands Inc.

Ross Knapp, Calico's senior vice president of sales, said, Recognizing our customer's ongoing desire for vendor consolidation, we plan to distribute Scripto products in addition to the Cricket and Calico product lines we currently distribute. This will enable our sales organization to offer retailers [image-nocss] and consumers a portfolio of market leading products unequalled in value, assortment depth, and price range.

The decision to transfer sales, marketing and distribution functions to Calico Brands follows closely on a similar decision made by Swedish Match, a Stockholm-based manufacturer of cigars, pipe, chewing tobaccos and Cricket brand lighters, the world's third largest selling brand. Swedish Match transferred the sales and distribution of Cricket lighters to Calico Brands in May of this year.

Ontario, Calif.-based Calico Brands is best known as a provider of translucent, economy-priced pocket disposable lighters and full-featured utility lighters. Although it markets product under its Calico and Hot Shot labels, it is perhaps better known for the store brands it produces for retailers such as Wal-mart, Walgreens and Rite Aid.

When asked about the reasons both companies would elect to outsource key functions to Calico Brands, Knapp said, Calico has an excellent reputation for logistics, on time delivery, and service levels. Our sales force of two hundred plus persons is the largest in the industry. Utilizing our sales and distribution assets enables both Scripto and Swedish Match to better focus their resources on manufacturing and product development.

He added, Customers will benefit from the synergies of three distinct product lines that fulfill entry level, mid-price and premium price consumer offerings from one vendor.

Transition of sales and distribution functions are scheduled to be completed by the end of first-quarter 2006.

Scripto Tokai Inc. is the wholly owned North American subsidiary of Japan-based lighter manufacturer Tokai Corp. The name Scripto is Latin for I write.

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