Hain Celestial Acquires Walnut Acres Brand and Parent Acirca Inc.

MELVILLE, N.Y. - The Hain Celestial Group, a natural and organic food company, has acquired privately held Acirca Inc., owner of the Walnut Acres brand of organic fruit juices, soups, pasta sauces and salsas.

Since June 2000, the financial and investment group Acirca Inc. has expanded Walnut Acres, its premier certified organic food and beverage brand, by integrating a series of organic brands including Mountain Sun, ShariAnn's, Millina's Finest, and Fruitti di Bosco into its Walnut Acres flagship. Beginning with the start of the company's 2004 fiscal year on July 1, 2003, The Hain Celestial Group will expeditiously integrate these brands into its existing business units, similar to its Imagine acquisition, as Acirca does not own any manufacturing facilities.

"We are excited to bring the well known Walnut Acres brand into our portfolio of natural and organic products," said Irwin D. Simon, chairman, president and CEO of the Hain Celestial Group. "As part of the Hain Celestial Group, we will enhance its reputation, while remaining true to its heritage -- it will be one of our brands in which virtually every product carries the USDA Organic seal.

"This acquisition provides us with our first entry into the high growth juice category with Walnut Acres' excellent organic juices. With Hain Celestial's expertise and experience in different beverage formats, including refrigerated, aseptic and for kids, we will create multiple new opportunities for Walnut Acres juice. Additionally, through our distribution network and our industry knowledge, we will expand Walnut Acres juices into a variety of sales channels."

Walnut Acres will also create marketing and sales synergies for other Hain Celestial brands, according to Simon.

Terms of the acquisition were not disclosed. The Walnut Acres brands are expected to add approximately $20 million in sales to Hain Celestial.
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