Exel Restructures to Support Increasing Market In North America

Exel Sports NA, a fully owned subsidiary of Exel Plc, a Finnish manufacturer and developer of composite consumer products announced today that Chris Griffin has been appointed as president and has entered an agreement with The Kea Group.
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Exel Sports NA, a fully owned subsidiary of Exel Plc, a Finnish manufacturer and developer of composite consumer products including cross-country ski, alpine ski, trekking and Nordic Walking poles announced today that Chris Griffin has been appointed as president of Exel Sports NA and has entered an agreement with The Kea Group, a customer oriented fulfillment group in Winooski, VT.

Griffin, formerly vice president of sales of Exel Sports NA, will be responsible for the development of the North American market for Exel branded products. “I have witnessed the evolution of Nordic Walking in North America and believe that our grass root marketing efforts are paying off with an increasing amount of dealers getting on board in recent months,” says Griffin. “Simultaneously, our winter business continues to grow as dealers are adding the Exel brand into their product mix. Our goal in the future is to be more efficient by supporting sales through high quality products and excellent customer service.”

To support this new agenda, Exel Sports NA has signed an agreement with The Kea Group, in Winooski, VT to provide customer fulfillment, logistics and warehousing for Exel branded products. The Kea Group provides innovative and creative business solutions to assist companies in achieving their objectives. “We are happy to align ourselves with a company that has over 30 years' of experience in the sporting goods business,” said Mark Helmken, president of The Kea Group. “With our expertise in operations, we believe we can assist Exel in reaching their goals.”

According to Aki Karihtala, CEO of Exel Sports, Ltd. and Senior Vice President of Exel plc., the Nordic Walking market has grown exponentially in a short period of time. “We believe it is only a matter of time that the North American market will experience growth reflective of Europe. This market is showing positive signs on the development of the sport and the Exel brand. We are looking forward to worldwide growth in the next few years and we believe these new changes will assist us in reaching our goals,” commented Karihtala.

About Exel USA Inc.
Exel USA Inc. is a fully owned subsidiary of the parent company Exel Plc, a Finnish corporation that specializes in composite technology. Exel USA Inc.'s primary function is develop sales and marketing programs for the North American market for all of the Exel Sports, Ltd consumer products (cross-country, alpine, trekking and Nordic Walking poles) in North America. The Group's 10 factories are located in Finland, Australia, Austria, Belgium, China, Germany and the UK. International operations account for some 85 percent of the group's net sales, which were EUR 112 million in 2006. The Group employs 550 persons and its share is quoted on Helsinki Stock Exchange. Further information: www.exelsports.net.

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