PureCircle's Partnership with S&W Seed Company Puts U.S. Stevia Production on Fast Track

Sep 29, 2011, 08:00 ET from S&W Seed Company

FIVE POINTS, Calif., Sept. 29, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- PureCircle, the global leader in the production of high purity stevia products, provided an update on the rapid expansion of its stevia supply in the U.S. as its partner, S&W Seed Company, neared completion and drying of stevia leaf in its first commercial level harvest. S&W plans to expand stevia plantings in California by the spring of 2012.

PureCircle, the world's leading producer of high purity stevia products, entered into a five-year agreement with S&W Seed Company (Nasdaq: SANW), Five Points, Calif., last August. Today, S&W and its subsidiary, Stevia California, are closer to providing a U.S.-based supply of stevia leaves capable of supporting the growing demand for stevia by consumers and the food and beverage companies serving them.

The agreement also advances PureCircle toward establishment of stevia leaf production "as close to our end markets as possible, reducing the energy footprint of the industry and supporting the sustainability of stevia growers," as Magomet Malsagov, CEO and Managing Director of PureCircle, stated in announcing the original agreement last August.

"Food and beverage companies are looking to maximize their use of locally grown ingredients, so having S&W as a partner is an important step for our corner of the globe," says Mike Wolff, North American Vice President of Sales for PureCircle USA.

Following a successful harvest on the first 85-acre planting this past spring, S&W plans to expand the PureCircle crop this fall and next spring.

"With stevia by PureCircle, we have gained a high-value crop that should have sustained growth in the North American market," said Mark Grewal, President and CEO for S&W. "We have the people, know-how and resources to turn a successful stevia crop into a high-value food ingredient with sustained, high-volume growth."

The partnership is poised for long-term synergy based on PureCircle's expertise in research and development and supply chain management as well as S&W's track record as a global leader in warm climate, high yield varieties of alfalfa seeds.

Partnering with S&W is consistent with PureCircle's strategic goal of cultivating a diversified, global supply of high purity stevia, and builds on PureCircle's existing agricultural operations spanning more than 15 countries across four continents. Additionally, S&W's state-of-the-art operations – including germination, transplanting, combine harvesting and water-conserving drip irrigation – ensure quality and sustainability while creating process efficiencies.

Looking forward, S&W's long-term relationships with California cooperative farmers across the Central Valley bode well for production of stevia by PureCircle across thousands of acres as the food and beverage industry responds to consumer demand for natural, lower-calorie sweet solutions.

Additionally, California plantings are set to broaden with multiple breeds of stevia by PureCircle, including proprietary varieties producing a higher yield of sweet glycosides content per pound of leaf. This holds promise for greater agricultural and processing efficiencies as well as reduced costs.

About PureCircle

PureCircle (www.purecircle.com) is the global leader in the production of high purity stevia products. PureCircle is leading the industry with the development of a strong sustainable natural supply chain. Stevia is now being grown for PureCircle in more than 15 countries across South America, Africa, Asia, and the United States; it provides a sustainable cash crop for rural farming communities in each region. As part of its leadership of the stevia industry, PureCircle has pioneered the industry trust mark Stevia PureCircle® that educates consumers about the benefits of Stevia and provides a strong base of trust for both consumers and Food & Beverage companies alike. PureCircle's global headquarters are in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. PureCircle shares are traded on the LSE AIM index.

About S&W Seed Company

Founded in 1980 and headquartered in the Central Valley of California, S&W Seed Company is a global leader in warm climate, high yield alfalfa seed varieties, including varieties that can thrive in poor, saline soils, as verified over decades of university-sponsored trials. S&W also offers seed cleaning and processing at its 40-acre facility in Five Points, California.  In fiscal 2010, the Company launched a business expansion initiative centered on mass producing stevia leaf in the U.S. in response to growing global demand for the all-natural, zero calorie sweetener from the food and beverage industry.  For more information, please visit www.swseedco.com.  

Safe Harbor Statement

This release contains "forward-looking statements" 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 and such forward-looking statements are made pursuant to the safe harbor provisions of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. "Forward-looking statements" describe future expectations, plans, results, or strategies and are generally preceded by words such as "may," "future," "plan" or "planned," "will" or "should," "expected," "anticipates," "draft," "eventually" or "projected." You are cautioned that such statements are subject to a multitude of risks and uncertainties that could cause future circumstances, events, or results to differ materially from those projected in the forward-looking statements, including the risks that actual results may differ materially from those projected in the forward-looking statements as a result of various factors and other risks identified in the Company's 10-K for the fiscal year ended June 30, 2010, and other filings made by the Company with the Securities and Exchange Commission.


Robert Blum, Joe Dorame, Joe Diaz

Lytham Partners, LLC



SOURCE S&W Seed Company