Wal-Mart Announces First Private Equity Fund Investment Recipient, Simeus Foods International, Inc.

Company invests $5 million in minority-owned international food company


BENTONVILLE, Ark. (May 3, 2006) – Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. today announced the first beneficiary of its private equity fund investment Siméus Foods International Inc. (SFI), the largest black-owned food processing company in the United States.  SFI has been awarded $5 million in support of its commitment to quality products and services.  In combination with funds from co-investors, a total of $20-$25 million will be distributed to the company.  The allocated grant is from a private equity fund managed by co-investor, Erasmus Advisors, a leading private equity advisory firm.  Wal-Mart established the fund in October 2005 to drive women- and minority-owned business growth.  

“Through this private equity fund we are able to invest in businesses, such as Siméus Foods International Inc., that have the talent and capacity to help drive supplier diversity,” said Esther Silver-Parker, vice president of diversity relations, Wal-Mart Stores, Inc.  “This and future minority-owned business investments extend our company’s long-standing supplier diversity efforts and will serve as an invaluable resource to talented minority and women entrepreneurs seeking to expand their businesses.”

SFI, founded in 1996, is a privately owned manufacturer of a wide variety of high-quality frozen food products for the restaurant industry, including ready-to-cook meats, appetizers, soups and sauces.  Ranking as the 24th largest black-owned company in the United States according to Black Enterprise, SFI employs more than 400 workers and has processing plant locations in Texas and North Carolina.

SFI founder and CEO, Dumas M. Siméus, is an executive with global experience including expertise in general management, corporate finance and inspirational leadership.  Siméus transformed his business from an in-house supplier, to a competitive business with a diversified pool of customers including, Quizno’s, Burger King, Denny’s, Hardee’s, TGI Friday’s, Olive Garden, Red Lobster and ARAMARK. 

“Siméus Foods is proud to have Wal-Mart as an investor in our company through Erasmus Advisors.  We are energized by the prospect of partnering with Wal-Mart on growth opportunities and appreciate the company’s commitment to develop relationships with minority-owned companies such as ours,” stated Dumas Siméus.  “We intend to demonstrate through our performance that this type of investment is a sound business strategy and guiding principle.”

According to the National Association of Investment Companies, although minorities account for 30 percent of the U.S. population, less than 2 percent of all venture and private equity funds are invested in minority companies.  As part of Wal-Mart’s continuing commitment to increasing supplier diversity throughout the retail sector, this fund will assist by supporting women and minority candidates who either operate companies or are in the process of acquiring companies that distribute or have the capacity to distribute products and services to major retailers and clientele.  With an allocation life of five years, the fund will invest in a total of five to nine companies over its existence.

“Acquiring capital is a driving concern for fast-growing minority businesses,” says Harriet R. Michel, president of the National Minority Supplier Development Council.  “Outstanding companies like Siméus Foods can especially benefit from private equity funds targeted to minority firms.  Wal-Mart’s commitment of capital signals its intent to help diverse suppliers build capacity to better serve global customers.”


-###-

Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. operates Wal-Mart Stores, Supercenters, Neighborhood Markets and SAM’S CLUB locations in the United States.  The company operates in Argentina, Brazil, Canada, China, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Germany, Guatemala, Honduras, Japan, Mexico, Nicaragua, Puerto Rico, South Korea and the United Kingdom.  The company’s securities are listed on the New York and Pacific stock exchanges under the symbol WMT.  More information about Wal-Mart can be found by visiting www.walmartfacts.com. Online merchandise sales are available at www.walmart.com

.

Siméus Foods International, Inc. (SFI) is a privately owned company and manufacturer of frozen food products for the restaurant industry.  Based in Mansfield, Texas, SFI is the largest Black-owned food processing company is the U.S. and largest black-owned business in the state of Texas.