News Release 3/3/2014
VICTORY ELECTRONIC CIGARETTES AND FIN BRANDING GROUP COMPLETE MERGER, CREATING ONE OF THE WORLD’S LARGEST INDEPENDENT ECIG COMPANIES
- Creates significant strategic, operational, and financial benefits
- Greater than $10 million in cost and revenue synergies identified
- Post closing annual revenue expected to far surpass $100 million
SPRING LAKE, MICHIGAN, March 3, 2014 – Victory Electronic Cigarettes Corporation (OTCQB: ECIG), and FIN Branding Group, a privately held company based in Mobile, Alabama announced today the completion of the merger of their two companies, creating one of the leading electronic cigarettes companies in the world with expected annual revenues surpassing $100 million. The merger represents a significant step forward in Victory’s ongoing global market consolidation strategy, and is expected to immediately realize powerful strategic, operational and financial benefits.
Elliot B. Maisel brings a long history of business success to the group. Previously, Mr. Maisel served as the Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of FIN Branding Group, LLC. Mr. Maisel currently serves as Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Gulf Distribution Holdings, LLC, and joined the group in 1974. Gulf Distributing Holdings, LLC is the parent company of four beverage distribution operations: Gulf Distributing Company of Mobile, Allstate Beverage Company, Goldring Gulf Distributing Company, and Energy Beverage Management Company. The group is one of the leading beverage distributors in the United States with annual case sales volume of more than 13 million cases.
He joined Gulf Distributing Company of Mobile, LLC in 1974. He graduated from University of Alabama in 1976.
In February, Victory announced that it had reached a definitive agreement to merge with FIN Branding Group, one of the leading electronic cigarette brands in the United States with distribution in all 50 states across more than 50,000 outlets. The FIN brand is distributed across all major channels and is one of the top three brands in the convenience, drug, mass, and food channels, and is well known for its superior quality, distinctive styling and iconic brand imagery. The company has built an excellent distribution platform on which to accelerate the expansion of both the FIN and Victory brands throughout the Americas.
Brent Willis, the former CEO at Cott Corporation and CCO and Board Director at InBev, will continue as the Chairman and CEO of the newly combined enterprise. Mr. Willis commented, “We are excited about the closing of the FIN transaction, our third major agreement in recent months. FIN has a tremendous sales organization and tremendous leadership in Elliot Maisel. The business addition enables leverage of a superior position versus most other independent competitors in the United States, and the leadership addition broadens our base of world-class people committed to creating the industry leader.”
Elliot B. Maisel, will become the Vice-Chairman and Lead Director of the firm, and will continue to be an integral part of leading the Company to achieve its goal of world’s largest independent electronic cigarette company. Mr. Maisel commented, “I am extremely excited about the platform we have created and the significant shareholder value that we are on the path to create. Our teams have rapidly come together to combine forces, capture immediate synergies, and build the culture of our new enterprise. With our scale, resources, brands and multiple other competitive advantages, I am extremely confident that our company will become the global market leader in this very exciting industry.
FIN Branding Group LLC is one of the leading electronic cigarette companies in the United States with distribution of its iconic American brands in all 50 states in more than 50,000 outlets across all channels of distribution including food, drug, mass, gas and convenience. FIN is sold in some of the most respected retailers in the country with leading positions in Wal-Mart, Sam’s, Walgreen’s, Rite-Aid, Kroger, 7-11. Circle K, Stripes, Mapco and more than 200 other major accounts. The group was founded in 2011, and quickly rose to enjoy one of the leading share positions in the United States.
VAPESTICK® is one of Europe’s leading brands of premium electronic cigarettes, founded in 2010 by co-founders Michael Clapper and Michiel Carmel. With its distinctive black and chrome style designs and signature blue light tips, VAPESTICK® has grown to become one of the most recognized brands in the market and currently sells its products both online www.vapestick.co.uk and through thousands of retail outlets across UK and Europe, including Tesco, Costco, Harrods and WHSmith. VAPESTICK® was recently ranked number one in consistency and product delivery of all leading UK brands in an independent study initiated by the UK’s Department of Health. The business is a founding board member of ECITA (European Electronic Cigarette Industry Trade Association).
The Electronic Cigarettes International Group, Ltd. (ECIG) is dedicated to empowering smokers to choose an alternative to traditional cigarettes. ECIG is one of the leading electronic cigarette companies in the world, and owns the trademarks VAPESTICK®, FIN®, Victory®, GreenStix®, VIP® and others. The Company owns multiple subsidiary companies and has operations in North America, Latin America, Western Europe, and Asia. ECIG offers consumers a full product portfolio that incorporates the highest quality and latest technology, and has been rated as superior in real tobacco taste amongst major brands. The Company’s website is www.ecig.co
Safe Harbor Disclosure
This press release contains forward-looking statements that are made pursuant to the safe harbor provisions of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995, within the meaning of Section 27A of the Securities Act of 1933, as amended, and Section 21E of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended. Forward-looking statements are any statement reflecting management’s current expectations regarding future results of operations, economic performance, financial condition and achievements of ECIG, including statements regarding ECIG’s expectation to see continued growth. The forward-looking statements are based on the assumption that operating performance and results will continue to materialize consistent with recent trends. Management believes these assumptions to be reasonable but there is no assurance that they will prove to be accurate. Forward-looking statements, specifically those concerning future performance are subject to certain risks and uncertainties, and actual results may differ materially. These risks and uncertainties include: ECIG’s reliance on additional financing, ECIG’s profitability and financial health, risks associated with ECIG’s products, including that they may pose a health risk; governmental regulations may impact ECIG’s business; the market or consumers may not accept ECIG’s products; ECIG relies on a single class of products; existing or pending patents may affect ECIG’s business; and other factors disclosed in the Company’s filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission. Unless required by applicable law, ECIG undertakes no obligation to update or revise any forward-looking statements.
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