Richters HerbLetter

Date: 96/11/06
1. Hundreds Talk Herbs Here
2. Central Chinese County Becomes Major Medicinal Plant Centre
3. Herb Business News

1. Hundreds Talk Herbs Here
By Jim Belyea

GOODWOOD, Oct 31, Uxbridge Times Journal -- The world of herbs was the topic of discussion in Goodwood last Saturday as Richter Herbs held an international day-long seminar.

The session, held at Goodwood Public School attracted 290 participants from around the world, said Conrad Richter, vice-president of Otto Richter and Sons Ltd. Herb Plants and Seeds.

It was the first time Richters held such a conference, he said. Helen Snell of Uxbridge was the chief organizer, he added.

Richter Herbs decided to hold the conference because it was being inundated with requests for information from farmers on how to get started in the herb industry, Mr Richter explained.

"We’re in the business of supplying farmers and growers with seed and propagating material," he said.

In an effort to meet customer need for information the seminar was arranged. Promotion began in the company’s catalogue last October.

Speakers from across the province dealt with four area of the herb business: dried herbs, the fresh cut herb market, the value added market and live plant market.

"We started out thinking we’d get 100 people and we’d use Goodwood Community Centre," Mr. Richter said. "By August we realized it would be bigger and we would need a bigger place."

Even after securing Goodwood Public School for the seminar, 100 people still had to be turned away.

People came from as far away as South Africa, Brazil, Bulgaria, Bahamas and from across the United States and Canada, he said.

The delegates and speakers enjoyed the conference so much they said they’d come back for another.

So Richter Herbs is planning a [two]-day conference for next year. Mr Richter isn’t sure where it will be held. A larger facility will definitely be needed, he said.

Mr Richter isn’t through with seminars. He will be the keynote speaker at a medicinal plants workshop in Vancouver on Nov. 9.

[Conference transcripts will be available in early 1997. Price is $35. Contact Richters Order Desk for more information. Details of the 1997 Richters Commercial Herb Growing Conference will be in the Richters 1997 catalogue.]

2. Central Chinese County Becomes Major Medicinal Plant Centre
ZHENGZHOU (Nov. 4) XINHUA - A central China county, which boasts over 1,300 wild medicinal plants and herbs, has become one of the major medicinal materials production bases in the country.

Xixia County, in central China’s Henan Province, produces 580,000 kilograms of medicinal cornel each year, accounting for one-third of the country’s total. The county’s production of gastrodia, honeysuckle, Chinese thorowax and the root of balloonflower, all rank the first among all China’s counties.

Statistics show that in 1995 the per capita income from medicinal material-related industries in the county increased by 280 yuan.

The county has placed great importance on the development of medicinal materials. The acreage of medicinal materials has expanded by 58,800 hectares.

The county now has more than 11,000 households which are engaged in production of Chinese medicines.

To make good use of its medicinal material resources, the county has established a Chinese medicinal material processing factory, and a firm which produces medicinal wine. Both operations have scored good economic returns.

Xixia County’s rich medicinal materials have attracted more than 15,000 medicine business people each year.

In the first nine months of this year, the county introduced 140 million yuan in foreign investment to boost its economy.

3. Herb Business News
General Nutrition: Sales Up 17%, Plans to Open 500 More Stores

PITTSBURGH, Oct. 30 /PRNewswire/ -- General Nutrition Companies, Inc. (Nasdaq: GNCI) today announced fully diluted earnings per share of $0.21 for the third quarter ended October 12, 1996, a 16.7% increase over the prior year period, on revenue of $226.6 million, a 17% increase.

Fully diluted earnings per share for the 36 weeks ended October 12, 1996, excluding the one-time charge in the second quarter of 1996, increased 19% to $0.62 compared to $0.52 for the same period of 1995. The Company’s revenue of $674 million for the 36-week period represented a 16% increase over the year-earlier period.

The Company attributed the increase in earnings per share to steady improvement in its retail business and solid performances by its franchising and manufacturing divisions. Same store sales in company-owned locations decreased by 0.6%, in line with the Company’s comments in the press release of May 28, 1996. Same store sales in franchised locations increased by 6.2%. System-wide retail sales, a key indicator of market penetration, increased by 12.2%.

William E. Watts, President and CEO, said "GNC’s growth strategy is on track. We are on target with our plan to open approximately 500 new U.S. based stores for the year." Watts also indicated that in conjunction with the Company’s planned move into the international marketplace, the first Company-owned store in the United Kingdom opened on October 23 and the first Canadian store is scheduled to open today.

General Nutrition Companies, Inc., which is based in Pittsburgh, is the only nationwide specialty retailer of vitamin and mineral supplements, sports nutrition and herbal products and is also a leading provider of personal care, fitness and other health-related products. The Company’s products are sold through a network of 2,887 retail stores operating under the General Nutrition Center, Nature Food Centre, Health & Diet Centre, Nature’s Fresh and Amphora names, of which 1,767 are company-owned and 1,120 are franchised. The Company’s stores are located in all 50 states, Puerto Rico and 16 foreign countries.

--------------------- Amrion, Inc.: One of Forbes’ Top 200 Small Companies

BOULDER, Colo., Oct. 30 /PRNewswire/ -- Amrion, Inc. (Nasdaq: AMRI), a leading manufacturer and marketer of innovative nutriceuticals and nutritional supplements, today announced that it has been listed as one of the top 200 "Best Small Companies in America" by Forbes magazine.

Amrion’s five year average return on equity of 19% and its five year EPS growth rate of 39% qualified the company for inclusion on Forbes’ annual list of the best small companies in America.

"Amrion is honored to be recognized for a second consecutive year by Forbes for its financial performance," stated Mark S. Crossen, President and CEO of Amrion. "We are pleased to receive recognition for our financial achievements over the years."

Amrion, Inc. develops, manufactures, markets and sells nutriceuticals, herbal formulas and nutritional supplements through four principal divisions and its subsidiary, Natrix International, LLC. These divisions and subsidiary utilize combinations of direct marketing strategies including catalog and direct mailings, print advertising and retail mass market and specialty distribution.

--------------------- Herbalife: Plans to Introduce Female Cosmetics Line in Brazil

SAO PAULO, Oct 28, Folha de Sao Paulo -- The cosmetics producer Herbalife will invest US$7mil to start distribution of a line of female products in Brazil during 1997. The company has posted sales of US$100mil over the first year of operations and recruited a force of 65,000 direct distributors. It will compete in the door to door cosmetics sales with Avon and Natura. Natura is investing US$100mil over the next two years to set up a new plant and a distribution center. Plans are to sales of US$850mil during 1996, against US$660mil posted in 1995. In 1997 investments will be US$67mil in new launchings, as part of a programme to invest US$800mil over the next ten years.

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