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Central Garden & Pet Company and Hoechst Roussel Vet Sign Agreement For Joint Development, Marketing and Distribution.

LAFAYETTE, Calif.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--March 6, 1997--

Hoechst Roussel Vet To Get Marketing Rights To Veterinary Channel;

Central To Get Consumer Marketing Rights To

Certain Hoechst Roussel Vet Products;

Joint Development Agreement on New Products

Central Garden & Pet Company (NASDAQ: CENT) today announced that it signed a definitive agreement relating to joint development, marketing and distribution with Hoechst Roussel Vet (HR Vet), a subsidiary of Hoechst.

The arrangement provides HR Vet with exclusive U.S. and Canada sales and marketing rights for the Vet-Kem(R) line of methoprene-based flea and tick products sold directly and exclusively through veterinarians, and acquired by Central as part of its previously announced -- but still pending -- transaction with Sandoz Agro, Inc. As part of the arrangement, Central and HR Vet will jointly develop new methoprene-based animal products for the vet and OTC markets.

Under the terms of the arrangement, Central has exclusive rights to market and distribute certain newly developed products to the mass market. Central will also have right of first refusal to market HR Vet animal products not currently sold in the OTC market in the U.S. or Canada for applications relating to dogs and/or cats subject to HR Vet's determination that such products are suitable for sale in this market.

HR Vet would have exclusive sales and marketing rights for all new products developed for the veterinary market. No financial terms of the arrangement were disclosed.

"This arrangement should help maximize the potential of Central's pending flea and tick business acquisition from Sandoz. The arrangement with HR Vet is intended to generate synergies that we believe exist between Central and Hoechst Roussel Vet," said William Brown, Chairman and Chief Executive of Central Garden & Pet. "Each company should be able to leverage its strengths to enhance sales opportunities presented by the branded products we are acquiring from Sandoz. We know the retail channel and HR Vet knows the veterinary channel. We have the U.S. rights to Sandoz Agro's methoprene-based flea and tick products, and HR Vet has significant developmental capabilities that we believe can help us expand the entire business substantially."

In the Sandoz Agro transaction, announced in October and expected to close this Spring, Central will acquire, among other product lines, the U.S. and Canada flea and tick business of Sandoz Agro, Inc. The business includes ownership in the U.S. and Canada of the Zodiac(R) and Vet-Kem(R) trademarks as well as the Ovitrol(R), Siphotrol(R), Fleatrol(TM), vIGRen(R), Petcor(R), Precor(R) and Natural Signature(TM) trademarks and other trademarks. These products -- which include on-animal sprays, shampoos and powders, collars, indoor foggers, aerosols, concentrates and pump-sprays -- are based on the active ingredient Methoprene to which Central would acquire production rights.

Central is also acquiring a manufacturing, formulation, packaging and research facility in Dallas, Texas and all existing inventory, along with a staff of highly trained technical professionals associated with the development and registration of Methoprene products. The trademark vIGRen is the trademark used for the sale of technical Methoprene to S.C. Johnson, Hartz Mountain and others for their use in branded products for the consumer mass market.

In addition to providing development services to Central at cost for new methoprene-based animal products, HR Vet would also act as consultant to Central in developing the systematic methoprene product and provide R&D and FDA advice.

The HR Vet arrangement is subject to completion of the Central-Sandoz transaction which is, itself, subject to approval by the FTC of the divestiture of the Sandoz flea and tick business in connection with the now completed merger of Sandoz Ltd. and Ciba-Geigy Limited into Novartis Inc.

Said Brown, "This arrangement with HR Vet is consistent with our goal of significantly increasing our presence in high-margin branded pet and lawn and garden products. We also see additional opportunities to grow the business by leveraging our national distribution and logistics capabilities, and by expanding into new methoprene-based products."

Central Garden & Pet Company is the leading national distributor of lawn, garden and pet supply products.

Statements contained in this press release which are not historical facts are forward looking statements as that item is defined in the Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. Such forward looking statements are subject to risks and uncertainties which could cause actual results to differ materially from those projected. Such risks and uncertainties are detailed in the company's filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

CONTACT: Central Garden & Pet

Gregory Reams



Sard Verbinnen & Co.

Paul Verbinnen/Debbie Miller

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Publication:Business Wire
Date:Mar 6, 1997
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