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Smart Balance Acquires Glutino Food Group

PARAMUS, N.J., Aug. 3, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- Smart Balance, Inc. (NasdaqGM: SMBL) today announced it acquired 100% of the equity interest of Importations DE-RO-MA, which owns Glutino Food Group ("Glutino"), for $66.3 million, from Claridge, a Montreal-based investment firm.  Based in Laval, Quebec, Glutino is a leading manufacturer and marketer of innovative, premium-priced, gluten-free foods sold under the Glutino and Gluten Free Pantry brands.  Glutino offers a wide range of shelf-stable and frozen gluten-free products, including snack foods, frozen baked goods, frozen entrees and baking mixes throughout North America and on its website www.glutenfree.com.  Glutino had annual sales of $53.9 million during its fiscal year ended March 31, 2011.

Transaction Highlights:

  • Smart Balance paid $66.3 million in cash.
  • The transaction was funded by Smart Balance's existing credit facility.  As of the close of the acquisition, Smart Balance's long-term debt is estimated to be $115 million.
  • The addition of Glutino to Smart Balance's portfolio of brands is expected to be accretive to earnings in the next twelve months.

Commenting on the announcement, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Stephen Hughes stated, "We are truly excited about adding the Glutino Food Group to our portfolio of health and wellness brands.  Glutino has increased its sales approximately 30% annually over the past three years, and we are confident about its growth prospects and contribution to Smart Balance.  The demand for gluten-free products is significant, and is now a category of over $2 billion in retail sales.  We are bullish on the continuation of the category's 10% compound annual growth rate due to increased awareness and diagnosis of gluten-induced ailments, including celiac disease, gluten intolerance and wheat allergies."

Furthermore, Mr. Hughes stated, "The gluten-free segment is complementary with our corporate vision of creating a health and wellness innovation platform that builds brands targeted at highly motivated consumer need states.  Just as our Smart Balance®, Earth Balance® and Bestlife™ brands address the health and wellness needs of consumers, Glutino addresses a specific dietary need by eliminating gluten in foods that consumers have to avoid for health reasons.  Dedication to providing high-quality and great tasting products has enabled the company to pioneer and shape the gluten-free category.  This has created a strong consumer following and established Glutino as the preeminent gluten-free brand."

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