Lagasse, Inc. Signs a Definitive Purchase Agreement for Sweet Paper Sales to Expand Its Presence in the Foodservice Redistribution Market

May 19, 2005, 01:00 ET from United Stationers Inc.

    DES PLAINES, Ill., May 19 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- United Stationers Inc.
 (Nasdaq:   USTR) announced today that its Lagasse, Inc. subsidiary signed a
 definitive purchase agreement with the shareholders of Sweet Paper Sales Corp.
 and with Sweet Paper Sales Group, which are headquartered in Hialeah, Florida.
 The Sweet Paper companies are privately held, with combined annual sales of
 approximately $250 million.  Sweet Paper currently offers 10,000
 janitorial/sanitation, paper and foodservice products to approximately 5,000
 distributors in twenty-three states.  The companies are regionally focused in
 the Southeast, California, Texas and Massachusetts.  Sweet Paper operates from
 ten distribution facilities. The transaction is expected to close in the
 second quarter of 2005, subject to customary closing conditions.
     Opportunity to Expand Market and Strengthen Janitorial/Sanitation Business
     "Our janitorial/sanitation subsidiary, Lagasse, Inc., continues to be one
 of the most successful areas of our business and represents one of our fastest
 growing product categories," said Richard W. Gochnauer, president and chief
 executive officer of United Stationers.
     "The acquisition of Sweet Paper will expand our presence in the high-
 growth foodservice product market where we have already achieved positive
 results.  We believe there is a good strategic and cultural fit with Lagasse.
 Sweet Paper is a well-run, profitable company, with outstanding people,"
 continued Gochnauer. "We believe the acquisition of the Sweet Paper
 businesses, which have operating margins slightly higher than United's, will
 be accretive to earnings in 2006 and will position us well for continued
 growth and success in this category."
     "We see this combination as a wonderful opportunity for Sweet Paper
 customers, suppliers and employees," said Michael Scheck, president of Sweet
 Paper.  "Lagasse has established an excellent reputation as a leading
 wholesaler of core janitorial and sanitary supplies, while Sweet Paper has
 established a reputation as a premier redistributor of foodservice and paper
 products. We have built our business on our expertise and through the personal
 relationships we have with each of our customers and suppliers. We now have an
 opportunity to expand our geographic reach through the Lagasse team that
 believes in the same value of personal service that we do."
     "We are very pleased to become a part of a larger company with Lagasse's
 capabilities.  Our family welcomes the opportunity to work with the Lagasse
 team as we bring a broader product offering, category knowledge and enhanced
 service to Lagasse," Scheck added.
    Steve Schultz, president of Lagasse, said, "Joining forces with Sweet Paper
 will bring new customers, new products, additional expertise and an expanded
 sales force that will support our business growth as a market leader in the
 janitorial/sanitation and foodservice redistribution industry.  We are very
 excited about the future prospects and market potential for the combined
     Forward-Looking Statements
     This news release contains forward-looking statements, including
 references to goals, plans, strategies, objectives, anticipated future
 performance, results or events and other statements that are not strictly
 historical in nature.  These statements are based on management's current
 expectations, forecasts and assumptions.  This means they involve a number of
 risks and uncertainties that could cause actual results to differ materially
 from those expressed or implied here.  These risks and uncertainties include,
 but are not limited to the following: United's ability to integrate its
 acquisition of the Sweet Paper businesses and to realize the synergies and
 benefits anticipated from this transaction; United's ability to effectively
 manage its operations and to implement general cost-reduction and margin-
 enhancement initiatives; United's ability to successfully procure and
 implement new information technology (IT) packages and systems, integrating
 them with and/or migrating from existing IT systems and platforms without
 business disruption or other unanticipated difficulties or costs; United's
 ability to effectively integrate past and future acquisitions into its
 management, operations, financial and technology systems; United's timely and
 efficient implementation of improved internal controls in response to
 conditions previously or subsequently identified at its Canadian division or
 elsewhere, in order to maintain an effective internal control environment in
 compliance with the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002; the conduct and scope of the
 SEC's informal inquiry relating to United's Canadian division or any formal
 investigation that may arise from this, and the ultimate resolution of any
 inquiry or investigation; the outcome of, and any costs associated with the
 defense of legal proceedings pending against the company; United's reliance on
 key suppliers and the impact of variability in their pricing, allowance
 programs and other terms, conditions and policies, such as those relating to
 geographic or product sourcing limitations, price protection terms and return
 rights; variability in supplier allowances and promotional incentives payable
 to the company, based on inventory purchase volumes, attainment of supplier-
 established growth hurdles, and supplier participation in the company's annual
 and quarterly catalogs and other marketing programs, and the impact of these
 supplier allowances and promotional incentives on the company's gross margins;
 United's reliance on key customers, and the business, credit and other risks
 inherent in continuing or increased customer concentration; continuing or
 increasing competitive activity and pricing pressures within existing or
 expanded product categories; increases in customers' purchases directly from
 product manufacturers; United's ability to anticipate and respond to changes
 in end-user demand and to effectively manage levels of any excess or obsolete
 inventory; the impact of variability in customer demand on United's product
 offerings and sales mix and, in turn, on customer rebates payable, and
 supplier allowances earned, by the company and on United's gross margin;
 reliance on key management personnel, both in day-to-day operations and in
 execution of new business initiatives; uncertainties related to any new
 regulations applicable to the company, including any new rulemaking by the
 SEC; acts of terrorism or war; and prevailing economic conditions and changes
 affecting the business products industry and the general economy.
     About Lagasse
     Lagasse, Inc. is a leading wholesale source for over 10,000 janitorial and
 sanitary maintenance products. Through its nationwide network of 24
 distribution centers, Lagasse serves distributor customers from the janitorial
 and sanitation maintenance industry, including distributors focused on the
 paper, industrial, foodservice, safety, material handling and healthcare
 channels.  Lagasse is recognized in the marketplace as a distribution partner,
 providing integrated fulfillment, sales support and value-added marketing
 solutions to its customers.
     About United Stationers
     United Stationers Inc., with 2004 sales of $4.0 billion, is North
 America's largest broad line wholesale distributor of business products. Its
 integrated computer-based distribution systems make more than 40,000 items
 available to approximately 15,000 resellers. United is able to ship products
 within 24 hours of order placement because of its 35 United Stationers Supply
 Co. distribution centers, 24 Lagasse distribution centers that serve the
 janitorial and sanitation industry, two Azerty distribution centers in Mexico
 that serve computer supply resellers, and two distribution centers that serve
 the Canadian marketplace. Its focus on fulfillment excellence has given the
 company an average order fill rate of better than 97%, a 99.5% order accuracy
 rate, and a 99% on-time delivery rate. For more information, visit
     The company's common stock trades on The Nasdaq Stock Market(R) under the
 symbol USTR.

SOURCE United Stationers Inc.