Exel Sports Oyj Wins Global Steve® Award for Product Excellence

Exel Oyj, a Finnish corporation and its fully owned subsidiary, Exel Sports NA, manufacturer of cross-country ski, alpine ski, Nordic Walking and trekking poles today announced it has won an International Steve® Award.
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Exel Oyj, a Finnish corporation that specializes in composite technology and its fully owned subsidiary, Exel Sports NA, manufacturer and developer of composite consumer products including cross-country ski, alpine ski, Nordic Walking and trekking poles today announced it has won an International Steve® Award for “Best Product Development Organization” in the 2006 International Business Awards (IBAs). The International Business Awards are the only global, all-encompassing business awards program honoring great performances in the workplace.

Recipients of 82 International Stevie Award trophies were selected from more than 700 nominations received from companies and individuals in more than 30 countries. Twenty-two nations have at least one International Stevie winner each, including Austria, Australia, Canada, China, Croatia, the Czech Republic, Finland, France, Germany, India, Indonesia, Ireland, Korea, Kuwait, Malaysia, Nigeria, Portugal, Sweden, Thailand, Ukraine, the United Kingdom, and the U.S.A.

“We are proud to be recognized for our work and subsequent success in developing Nordic Walking,” said Chris Griffin, vice president of sales at Exel Sports NA. “Being the worldwide market leader in this category, we continue to reach our original goal of offering new business opportunities to the entire sporting goods industry. With this International award and our recent partnerships in North America, we look forward to continued achievements and building more recognition for Nordic Walking.”

Exel Sports NA is a fully owned subsidiary of the parent company Exel plc. of Finland, the original manufacturer and developer of the Nordic Walking technique and poles back in 1997. Nordic Walking uses specifically designed poles to engage the upper body during fitness walking. The activity can help users burn up to 46 percent more calories than walking without poles. Most recently, Exel Sports NA has signed partnership deals with companies like Reebok to help generate awareness for Nordic Walking as well as offering an extensive network of trainers and events to expose consumers to the sport.

Nicknamed the Stevie for the Greek word “crowned,” the awards will be presented to winners at a gala dinner on Monday, June 26 in the Marriott Marquis Hotel in New York City. The ceremonies will be videocast live worldwide by HB Group, and will be broadcast live on radio in the U.S.A. by the Business TalkRadio Network.

Members of the Awards' Board of Distinguished Judges & Advisors and their staffs selected International Stevie winners from among the Finalists, which were determined by volunteer judges around the world during two months of preliminary judging.

“The growth in entries this year illustrates the increasing importance of The International Business Awards worldwide,” said Michael Gallagher, president of The Stevie Awards, presenters of the IBAs. “We congratulate all of the Finalists and International Stevie Awards winners, and we look forward to honoring them for their achievements at our gala awards dinner in New York on June 26.”

Companies from all over the world are eligible to compete in The International Business Awards, and can enter in any of more than 40 categories from Best Multinational Company and Best New Product to Best Corporate Social Responsibility Program and Best Executive.

Complete lists of International Stevie winners and other details are available at www.stevieawards.com/iba.

About Exel Sports NA
Exel Sports NA, Inc. is a fully owned subsidiary of the parent company Exel Oyj, a Finnish corporation that specializes in composite technology. Exel Sports NA handles the marketing, sales, logistics and product development of Exel Oyj's consumer products (cross-country, alpine, trekking and Nordic Walking poles) in North America. The Group's 11 factories are located in Finland, Australia, Austria, Belgium, China, Germany and the UK. International operations account for some 85% of the Group's net sales, which were EUR 91 million in 2005. The Group employs 600 persons and its share is quoted on Helsinki Stock Exchange Main list. Further information: www.exelsports.net

About The Stevie Awards
Hailed as “the business world's own Oscars” by the New York Post (April 27, 2005), Stevie Awards are conferred in three programs: The American Business Awards, The International Business Awards, and The Stevie Awards for Women Entrepreneurs. Honoring companies of all types and sizes and the people behind them, the Stevies recognize outstanding performances in the workplace worldwide. Learn more about The Stevie Awards at www.stevieawards.com

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