American Italian Pasta Company (NYSE: PLB) today reported record results for the fourth quarter and fiscal year ended September 29, 2000.

Timothy S. Webster, President and CEO, said, “We had another excellent quarter with strong across-the-board volume growth with the exception of the Mueller’s business. Volume growth in our non-Mueller’s operations was up over 20% with solid growth in both our retail and institutional businesses of 19% and 21% respectively. Mueller’s volumes were down 34% from the prior year as Bestfoods reduced their inventories during the quarter, and a contract change affected volumes favorably in the year ago quarter. Shipments to Mueller’s retail customers, a better measure of brand performance, were off by less than 3% during the quarter.”

Commenting on the full year, Mr. Webster said, “Fiscal 2000 at AIPC has been marked by solid domestic growth, led by our ingredient and private label businesses. Overall, volumes grew by 18% for the year, and 28% excluding Mueller’s. This excellent growth can be attributed to our customers who are winning the market share battle, our excellent cost and service position, and our results-oriented team. We are consistently taking market share in a profitable manner.”

Horst W. Schroeder, Chairman of the Board, said, “I am very proud of what our management team accomplished in 2000. We completed several strategic initiatives that will position us for industry leadership. The completion of our Italian facility will facilitate growth with domestic customers and enable us to penetrate new markets. We significantly expanded our ingredient market share with our dedicated facility in Kenosha, Wisconsin. We implemented several cost reduction programs that will lower cost for years to come.”

Mr. Schroeder continued, “These strategic achievements came during a year of increasingly competitive conditions and we still met our financial goals for the year. With the pending acquisition of Mueller’s, we look forward to increasing consumer and retailer excitement in this important food category.

“Finally, it is vitally important to AIPC and all domestic pasta producers that free trade continue with Canada as the U.S. durum crop will not be adequate to meet the requirements for high quality durum of the U.S. producers.”

Mr. Webster added, “We are very excited about the recently announced Mueller’s agreement. We had a favorable agreement with Bestfoods that significantly mitigated the impact on AIPC of Mueller’s volume declines. Without the contractual requirement of customer dedicated production capacity, we will have significant opportunities to lower costs. A more flexible allocation of production volumes between AIPC facilities will allow optimization of manufacturing and logistics costs and further enhance our position as the low cost producer. The identified cost savings will allow us to increase trade and consumer promotion support for the brand.

“We are already developing plans to change the Mueller’s business to fit our profitable growth business model. The significant reduction in Mueller’s inventories, which reduced AIPC’s fourth quarter revenues and gross profit by approximately $2.4 million and $.4 million respectively, are the first steps in the transformation to a new, more focused Mueller’s strategy. Furthermore, the manufacturing contract with Mueller’s precluded AIPC from producing for other branded pasta companies. This move frees us from those restraints and enables our focused pursuit of those incremental volume opportunities.”

The Company recently filed an 8-K that disclosed the purchase price of the Mueller’s brand at approximately $38.2 million. The Company expects the acquisition to be non-dilutive to earnings in 2001 and significantly accretive to earnings in 2002.

The Company also reported that its share repurchase program was completed during the fourth quarter. Total shares purchased were 1.5 million at an average cost of $20.91 per share.

Mr. Webster also noted that Forbes magazine recently honored the Company as one of the 200 best small companies in America. “This is a very nice honor,” Mr. Webster said. “It recognizes the contributions of our team, the performance of our Company and our leadership in the pasta category.”

Revenues for the quarter totaled $65.1 million, a $3.9 million or 6.4% increase over the $61.2 million reported in the comparable fiscal 1999 period. Revenue growth in the non-Mueller’s businesses was up 15.2% over the prior year quarter. The increases are primarily due to higher volumes. Revenues for the current quarter were affected by minimum volume premiums on the Mueller business and by the modification of several retail customer programs which lowered both revenues and promotional expenses versus the prior year quarter.

Gross profit for the quarter totaled $18.2 million, an increase of $1.0 million or 5.8% over the $17.2 million reported in fourth quarter 1999. The increase is primarily attributable to revenue growth. The gross margin percentage for the fourth quarter was 27.9%, compared to 28.1% in the comparable 1999 quarter, due primarily to the promotional modifications mentioned above.

Operating profit for the quarter totaled $12.6 million, an increase of $0.8 million or 6.8% over the $11.8 million reported in the prior year quarter. Operating profit as a percentage of revenues was at 19.3% in 2000 and 19.2% in 1999.

Interest expense for the quarter totaled $1.3 million, an increase of $0.4 million over the $0.9 million in the same period last year. The increase is attributable to higher debt levels, offset by increased interest expense capitalization. The higher debt levels are attributable to the Company’s recent share repurchase program and Italian expansion.

Income tax expense for the quarter totaled $4.0 million in 2000 and 1999, reflecting effective tax rates of 35.5% and 37.0%, respectively.

Net income for the quarter totaled $7.3 million, an increase of $0.4 million or 5.7% over the $6.9 million reported in the fourth quarter of 1999. Net income as a percentage of revenue was 11.2% for both 2000 and 1999. Fourth quarter EPS (diluted) was $0.42 per share, up $0.05 or 13.5% versus that reported in 1999.

Revenue for the fiscal year ended September 29, 2000, was $248.8 million, a $28.6 million or 13.0% increase over fiscal year 1999, driven by volume growth of 18% for the year. Net income was $27.5 million, a $3.9 million or 16.7% increase over last year’s net income. EPS (diluted) for the year was $1.50, up 19.0% over the $1.26 reported for fiscal 1999.

AIPC will be conducting a conference call today at 4:45 pm ET that will be webcast at both and In order to participate via webcast, you will need RealPlayer software (available without charge at There will also be a replay available from both sites through November 2nd.

AIPC is based in Kansas City, Mo., with plants strategically located in Excelsior Springs, Mo., Columbia, S.C., and Kenosha, Wis., and its first international facility near Milan, Italy. Founded in 1988, the Company is the largest and one of the fastest-growing producers and marketers of dry pasta in North America. AIPC has rapidly established a significant market presence in North America by developing strategic customer relationships with food industry leaders that have substantial pasta requirements. The Company’s approximately 550 employees produce more than 80 dry pasta shapes in three vertically integrated U.S. milling, production and distribution facilities and one Italian production facility.

The statements contained in this release regarding increased market share and the acquisition of Mueller’s are forward looking and based on current expectations. Actual future results could differ materially from those anticipated by such forward-looking statements. The differences could be caused by a number of factors, included but not limited to our dependence on a limited number of customers for a substantial portion of our revenue, our ability to manage rapid growth, our ability to obtain necessary raw materials and minimize fluctuations in raw material prices, the impact of the highly competitive environment in which we operate, reliance exclusively on a single product category, our ability to attract and retain key personnel, our ability to cost-effectively transport our products and the significant risks inherent in our recent international expansion. For additional discussion of the principal factors that could cause actual results to be materially different, refer to our Current Report on Form 8-K dated October 29, 1997, filed by the Company with the Securities and Exchange Commission (Commission file No. 001-13403), any amendments thereto and other matters disclosed in the Company’s other public filings. The Company will not update any forward- looking statements in this press release to reflect future events. For more information, please refer to Form 10-Q filed by the Company with the Securities and Exchange Commission (Commission file No. 001-13403) dated July 26, 2000. The Company expects to file Form 10-K with the Securities and Exchange Commission (Commission file No. 001-13403) in December 2000.

                        AMERICAN ITALIAN PASTA COMPANY
Consolidated Statements of Income
(in thousands, except per share amounts)

Three Months Three Months
Ended Ended
September 30, September 30,
2000 1999 % Change

Retail $45,902 $45,479 0.9%
Institutional 19,165 15,676 22.3%
Total revenues 65,067 61,155 6.4%

Cost of goods sold 46,915 43,979
Plant expansion costs - 16
Gross profit 18,152 17,160 5.8%

27.9% 28.1%

Selling and marketing expense 3,964 4,034 -1.7%
General and administrative expense 1,616 1,355 19.3%
Operating profit 12,572 11,771 6.8%

19.3% 19.2%

Interest expense, net 1,302 853 52.6%
Income tax provision 4,001 4,040 -1.0%
Net income $7,269 $6,878 5.7%

11.2% 11.2%
Earnings Per Common Share:
Net income per common share $0.42 $0.38 10.5%

Weighted average common shares
outstanding 17,151 18,147

Earnings Per Common Share -
Assuming Dilution:
Net income per common share $0.42 $0.37 13.5%

Weighted average common shares
outstanding 17,356 18,723

Consolidated Statements of Income
(in thousands, except per share amounts)

Year Year
Ended Ended
September 30, September 30,
2000 1999 % Change

Retail $177,774 $160,174 11.0%
Institutional 71,021 59,975 18.4%
Total revenues 248,795 220,149 13.0%

Cost of goods sold 178,810 160,449
Plant expansion costs - 130
Gross profit 69,985 59,570 17.5%

28.1% 27.1%

Selling and marketing expense 16,065 14,855 8.1%
General and administrative expense 6,263 5,580 12.2%
Operating profit 47,657 39,135 21.8%

19.2% 17.8%

Interest expense, net 4,777 2,098 127.7%
Income tax provision 15,426 13,519 14.1%
Net income $27,454 $23,518 16.7%

11.0% 10.7%

Earnings Per Common Share:
Net income per common share $1.53 $1.30 17.7%

Weighted average common shares
outstanding 17,895 18,108

Earnings Per Common Share -
Assuming Dilution:
Net income per common share $1.50 $1.26 19.0%

Weighted average common shares
outstanding 18,298 18,621

Consolidated Balance Sheet
(in thousands, except per share amounts)

September 30, September 30,
2000 1999
Current assets:
Cash and temporary investments $6,677 $3,088
Trade and other receivables 27,479 22,018
Prepaid expenses and deposits 4,424 3,952
Inventory 28,390 25,227
Deferred income taxes 2,989 1,031
Total current assets 69,959 55,316
Property, plant and equipment:
Land and improvements 7,159 6,953
Buildings 85,157 75,677
Plant and mill equipment 230,383 219,725
Furniture, fixtures and equipment 10,011 7,239
332,710 309,594
Accumulated depreciation (64,769) (51,156)
267,941 258,438
Construction in progress 43,727 7,686
Total property, plant and equipment 311,668 266,124
Other assets 2,144 782
Total assets $383,771 $322,222

Liabilities and stockholders' equity

Current liabilities:
Accounts payable $12,261 $15,187
Accrued expenses 8,352 9,763
Income tax payable 841 --
Current maturities of long-term debt 1,564 1,144
Total current liabilities 23,018 26,094
Long-term debt 138,502 81,467
Deferred income taxes 23,847 12,931
Commitments and contingencies
Stockholders' equity:
Preferred stock, $.001 par value: Authorized
shares - 10,000,000 -- --
Class A common stock, $.001 par value:
Authorized shares - 75,000,000 18 18
Class B common stock, $.001 par value:
Authorized shares - 25,000,000 -- --
Additional paid-in capital 177,725 175,030
Treasury stock (31,362) (26)
Notes receivable from officers (61) (71)
Retained earnings 54,233 26,779
Accumulated other comprehensive income (loss) (2,149) --
Total stockholders' equity 198,404 201,730
Total liabilities and stockholders' equity $383,771 $322,222