DEAR FELLOW SHAREHOLDERS:
LBIX MONTHLY NEWSLETTERThe last weeks of February saw our plant production ramp up as our customers began building volume in advance of spring. March is usually one of our more hectic production months, often reaching record volumes. Our line adjustments are translating into much-improved efficiencies. It is certainly nice to have the issues of last year firmly behind us now, well within time to capitalize on the prime production season.
I am also pleased to report that our new US sales team has hit the ground running. Their goals are to build upon the successful markets established for our products there. Our sales and marketing efforts for TREK® will be focused around several key markets (1) the Pacific Northwest; (2) Northern California; (3) Colorado; (4) the upper Mid-West; (5) New England; and (6) the Carolinas. During the course of this spring and summer we will concentrate on taking that brand to the next level in those areas, forming a solid base for further expansion next year.
We will obviously explore any other opportunities, as they might arise, but we believe it important to concentrate our resources to obtain the maximum impact in those markets that have initially proven most receptive to the TREK® brand.
I was very pleased and surprised to see the attached picture of TREK® NITRO™ appear in the March 1, 2004 edition of Time Magazine (page 77 US and page 53 Canadian editions).
A couple of trade articles on Soy2O™ are also attached. It seems that our marketing efforts are taking hold!
We continue to pursue US listing opportunities with Pez® 100% Juices™, Soy2O™ and our Caesar® Cocktail brands. In response to customer demand, we are in the process of developing a ‘zero carb, zero calorie’ version of Soy2O™. That should be available by late spring. Although I don’t always agree with their assessments, www.bevnet.com has just released some rather favorable ratings on Soy2O ™.
We are expanding our Canadian distribution operations to service additional chain convenience store accounts. The extraordinary merchandising services we provide have caught the attention of several large chains. They have come to the simple conclusion that properly presented product can increase both their turns and profits.
I would like to provide our shareholders with some information concerning the recently announced lawsuit by one Thomas Lines and Futuristic Brands USA Inc.
In October 2003, Leading Brands of America, Inc. (LBAI) commenced a lawsuit against its former President Robert Miller, Lines, Futuristic and others alleging attempts by them to defraud LBAI and interfere with its commercial arrangements with others. Futuristic is the single-purpose company that licenses the Mad Croc energy drink to LBAI and Lines is its principal.
We have been fortunate enough to identify and foil several attempts by Lines and his associates to take further improper advantage of our company. We have initiated appropriate steps to assure nothing similar happens again.
On February 11, 2004 the profile ‘bevanalyst13’ was created for use on the LBIX Yahoo Finance Message Board. On February 12, 2004, in post #4453, ‘bevanalyst13’ speculated: “…maybe there's a lawsuit going on that shareholders should know about?” The very next day, February 13, 2004, Futuristic commenced its lawsuit. On February 18, 2004 Lines issued his news release and subsequently transmitted it to our lawyer.
Having finally had a chance to read the Futuristic complaint, I can only say that I have never seen a more fantastical document. It is built around wild, irrelevant and unsupportable allegations. It is no doubt designed as an attempt to harm our company and embarrass us into settling our disputes with Mr. Lines.
On February 21, 2004, in post # 4513, ‘bevanalyst13’ speculated further: ‘I would not be the least bit surprised to see Soy20 included as part of one of these lawsuits.’ At this juncture, one can only imagine the basis of that prophecy.
I have found that LBIX shareholders are generally reasonable and thoughtful people. So, I ask you these questions:
1. How does ‘bevanalyst13’ know about lawsuits before they are even commenced?
2. What would possibly motivate a private individual and a private company to issue a public news release concerning a private lawsuit?
3. Why would anyone of credibility or substance expose oneself legally and financially by making libelous allegations in a public news release?
Those are questions that we intend to have answered. As for Messrs. Miller, Lines and their confederates, we will continue to take all responsible and considered steps to properly protect and pursue the interests of our company against those seeking to profit at its expense.
Thank you for your continued support.
LEADING BRANDS, INC.
Ralph D. McRae
Chairman & CEO
We Build Brands