DEAR FELLOW SHAREHOLDERS:
I was particularly moved by the number of positive and thoughtful comments that I received on our last newsletter. Also, I have been impressed with the level of inquiry and debate that has been directed to us since that time. The great majority of dedicated shareholders want us to continue to publish these monthly, so we will.
To say that I was disappointed to read the Hansen news release on February 12, would be an understatement. For good or for bad, people make decisions every day that affect others. After more than seven years in business together, we might have hoped for that decision to have been conveyed to us in a different way. Even so, we will take the high road in all discussions and try to work out a basis to bring their other energy drink brands to Canada. We as yet have not determined when the transition will be, but assuming a date in the next month or so, we no doubt have some work ahead of us to catch back up to where we were. We are, however, not intent on letting moss grow under our feet.
More often than not, change brings new opportunity along with it. Our agreement with Hansen completely restricted us from carrying other energy drinks, or developing our own - either within or without Canada. There is little doubt that the energy drink category has become a significant one in North America, but Canadian sales are less than 2.5% of that total. In our estimation the Canadian market lags the US by two or three years. There is now a much greater opportunity out there for us to exploit.
I am pleased to be able to today announce the listing of TrueBlue® at Kroger®. It has been a long time coming and I appreciate your patience. Often, the right deal is worth waiting for. Our work on other chains continues unabated, but this is a big one for us, particularly in the mid-West.
We will run our last production in our Vancouver plant by the end of April and then start transferring and installing the equipment in Edmonton. I very much appreciate the effort and dedication of all our employees, in both locales, working so hard to pull this move off.
I am also looking forward to our new partnership with the people at Icelandic Glacial® Water to build their super-premium brand in Canada. They have a great product line and some significant plans internationally. Their packaging is exceptional and it is exciting to be involved on the ground floor with a situation like that.
Thank you for your continued support.
LEADING BRANDS, INC.
Ralph D. McRae
Chairman & CEO
Certain information contained in this press release includes forward-looking statements. Words such as “believe”, “expect,” “will,” or comparable terms, are intended to identify forward-looking statements concerning the Company’s expectations, beliefs, intentions, plans, objectives, future events or performance and other developments. All forward-looking statements included in this press release are based on information available to the Company on the date hereof. Such statements speak only as of the date hereof. Important factors that could cause actual results to differ materially from the Company’s estimations and projections are disclosed in the Company’s securities filings and include, but are not limited to, the following: general economic conditions, weather conditions, changing beverage consumption trends, pricing, availability of raw materials, economic uncertainties (including currency exchange rates), government regulation, managing and maintaining growth, the effect of adverse publicity, litigation, competition and other risk factors described from time to time in securities reports filed by Leading Brands, Inc.