Stearns & Lehman, Inc. (Nasdaq: SLHN) announced yesterday that they have recently signed a letter of intent to purchase the Foodservice Syrups and Toppings business from Bunge Foods Group (hereafter referred to as Bunge Foods) for $11,500,000 in cash.

Stearns & Lehman expects that the purchase of this business segment from Bunge Foods will expand the Company’s existing syrup product line to meet the broader needs of the general foodservice industry. In addition, the various sauce and topping products will increase the diversity of products that the Company manufactures and sells. The sauce and topping products also have synergistic value, with the Company’s existing products, as they are used by the specialty coffee industry. Revenues of the Foodservice Syrups and Toppings business of Bunge is expected to reach approximately $17,000,000 in gross revenue for the twelve months ending December 31, 2000. Both Stearns & Lehman and Bunge Foods anticipate that the acquisition will be finalized by Dec. 31, 2000.

Bunge Foods, a division of Bunge Corporation, is a leading manufacturer and marketer of value-added products and services for the Baking, Foodservice and Food Processor industries. As a major worldwide supplier of food ingredients for baked goods and prepared foods, Bunge Foods’ portfolio of products includes oils, shortening, margarine, bakery mixes and concentrates, frozen bakery products, fruits and flavors.

According to Haywood Solomon, general manager of Bunge Foods, “Bunge had been looking for some time for a way to strengthen its foodservice syrups and toppings business, which is strongest on the west coast and among regional and national foodservice chain accounts. Ultimately, we concluded that selling the business to Stearns & Lehman would be the best thing for our customers. Stearns & Lehman’s strength among coffee houses and processing capacity in the Midwest, will let them create a stronger and more diverse entity that is better able to meet the needs of both companies’ customers and is poised for additional growth domestically as well as internationally.”

Bill Stearns, CEO, Stearns & Lehman, stated, “Stearns & Lehman has worked hard to achieve the market share, credibility and resources needed to undertake an acquisition of this magnitude. We are confident that the addition of the Bunge Foodservice Syrups and Toppings unit will greatly enhance our position within the foodservice sector, and allow for additional growth of our combined product lines. This opportunity for growth is expected to take place within our existing venues, as well as through a new group of customers and markets, both domestically and internationally. The new processing capability, and associated technology being acquired, will also serve to maintain the Company’s position as the innovative leader in its category. I expect to see a seamless integration, and that process is already well under way.”

Stearns & Lehman, Inc. is engaged in the business of developing, manufacturing and marketing specialty food products, including coffee and espresso flavorings, syrups, oils and toppings, extracts, flavorings, dressings, specialty sugars and specialty frozen beverage products. The Company’s customer list includes a number of America’s top specialty coffee retailers and restaurants. Stearns & Lehman sells its products throughout the United States and in over 16 foreign countries, including Australia, Bermuda, Canada, China, Dominican Republic, Egypt, Iceland, Ireland, Israel, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Norway, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, United Arab Emirates and United Kingdom.

For further information, visit the Company’s web site at or inquire about the Company at the NASDAQ web site, using its symbol of SLHN.

Except for the historical information herein, the matters set forth in this press release are forward-looking statements within the meaning of “safe harbor” provisions of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. These forward-looking statements are subject to risks and uncertainties that may cause actual results to differ materially. These risks are detailed in the Company’s period reports filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission. These forward-looking statements speak only as of the date hereof. The Company disclaims any intent of obligation to update these forward-looking statements.