News from Marketwire

Thursday, February 02, 2006

NUREMBERG, Germany--(CCNMatthews - Feb 2, 2006) -

Toy Makers Expand Manufacturing and Distribution of Compatible Building Blocks Throughout Europe and North America

Best Lock Group LTD and COBI today announced their merger, which enables the companies to better serve markets throughout Europe and North America. The two privately owned toy manufacturers will have enhanced product offerings solidifying market share in a highly competitive global toy market.

"Best-Lock is delighted to have manufacturing capacity in Europe," says Best-Lock's CEO Torsten Geller. "Centrally located, newer facilities mean we can get our popular toys to the marketplace even quicker." Best-Lock's acquisition of a portion of COBI enables an expanded product range for both companies' toy offerings as well as increased global awareness of the brands.

"We're good corporate fits. Together we can focus on challenging the retail shelf space of our two major competitors in a more efficient and effective manner," says Best-Lock Director of Global Sales Stephen Minsk. "Now we will be able to better compete with LEGO and MegaBlok as Best-Lock has been in the number 3 position and COBI in the number 4 position."

Best-Lock, with offices in North America, Europe and Asia, will shift much of its manufacturing to COBI's facilities in Poland. Additionally, Best-Lock and COBI have begun construction of expanded manufacturing facilities, permitting better delivery of product in Germany - the second-largest construction-toy market in the world - and other major markets throughout Europe. Future manufacturing facilities in several other markets are planned to enhance Best-Lock's distribution in North America.

COBI and Best-Lock will co-brand their products in the future. COBI has strong distribution in Central and Eastern Europe, while Best-Lock has strong distribution in Western Europe and North America.

Best-Lock continues to pursue a fair marketplace, having initiated and succeeded in several recent legal cases with LEGO(R) involving patent and trademark monopolies in Germany. Its merger with COBI supports fair trade opportunities within the toy industry.

About Best-Lock: Best Lock is a privately owned company founded in 1997. It currently sells products in 42 countries and has offices in the United States, Canada, England, Germany and Hong Kong. Over the next three years, the company aims to capture 10 percent market share of the nearly $1 billion-plus construction toy market. In line with today's hottest toy trends, Best-Lock's products are both popular and value priced encouraging active, imaginative play. Best-Lock's offerings of themes include an extensive line of military products, license agreements with HUMMER(R) and Humvee(R), as well as sets with the very popular pirate theme and a new soccer-themed set - just in time for the World Cup in Germany during summer 2006. The products are widely available at mass, specialty and discount retailers, plus on numerous Web sites.

About COBI Group Companies: COBI is a privately owned company established in 1987 in Warsaw, Poland. By the mid 1990s, COBI concentrated on plastic building-block production under the COBI trademark and has created many popular block lines, including Small Army, Galactic Wars, Action Town, Bobbi among others. With rapid development of international business in Central and Eastern Europe, COBI is a leader in the Polish toy market and one of the country's biggest branded-toy importers.


Karwoski & Courage Public Relations, Minneapolis
Rose McKinney, 612-342-9632
Best-Lock Group Ltd.
Torsten Geller

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