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NECCO® to Explore Growth Through Strategic Partnership; Operational, Service and Distribution Gains Expected to Continue

11/9/2010 12:00:00 AM REVERE, Mass., Nov. 9, 2010 /PRNewswire/ -- The New England Confectionery Company, Inc. ("NECCO") announced today that it has retained New York-based Sawaya Segalas & Co., LLC, a leading consumer investment banking firm, to identify a strategic partner or explore a possible sale of NECCO's business.

NECCO manufactures and distributes well-recognized brands such as Sweethearts® Conversation Hearts, NECCO® Wafers, Clark® Bar, Haviland® and Mary Jane®. NECCO's unique brands have distinguished themselves within the candy industry and have been enjoyed by consumers for over 160 years.

During the course of 2010, NECCO has worked diligently to improve production efficiencies, quality, delivery and cost, and has made significant progress toward each initiative. The company has turned its focus to driving results in its core business and executing on initiatives that align with its competencies and experience. As a result, service levels for Halloween and Christmas 2010 have greatly improved compared to the same period in 2009, and NECCO is in an excellent inventory position to service the 2011 Valentine's Day season on time with high quality product.

Although NECCO has the ability to continue operating in its current form, NECCO's Board of Directors believes that finding a strategic partner is the appropriate next step to take full advantage of NECCO's compelling growth and distribution opportunities.

"We are confident that NECCO will be recognized for the value it can bring the right partner. With the right strategic partner, who can leverage distribution to a broader customer base, NECCO presents tremendous growth opportunities in light of the value embodied in its brands and the substantial operational improvements made this year," said Dave Smith, Chief Operations Officer, NECCO.

NECCO expects its business to continue uninterrupted while it explores various opportunities. There can be no assurance that exploration of these alternatives will result in any specific transaction, and the company does not intend to comment further until after completion of this process. In the event a strategic partner cannot be identified on acceptable terms, however, NECCO expects to continue to move forward as a stand-alone company with a commitment to manufacturing, selling and servicing its customers at a high level.

NECCO is in the process of delivering product to customers for the 2010 holiday season and Valentine's Day 2011. The company remains committed to its customers and is working to solidify its market presence for Halloween 2011. NECCO will continue to pursue initiatives to gain count good distribution and to improve service levels.