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D&PL makes financial, leadership changes

Delta and Pine Land Co., a leading commercial breeder, producer and marketer of cotton planting seed has announced a series of actions to enhance the company's ability to execute its long-term growth plans and improve performance and profitability.

In the fourth fiscal quarter of 2001, the company will take a $6 million non-recurring charge to earnings to account for severance, plant closing and related expenses. The company estimated that the actions announced would contribute approximately $3 million in annual cost savings beginning in fiscal year 2002.

Murray Robinson, vice chairman and chief executive officer of Delta and Pine Land Co., who is assuming the additional position of president, said, “The actions we have announced are a key step in achieving our previously announced strategic plans centered on growing D&PL's existing franchise, as well as further enhancing shareholder value.

The company announced that Steve Hawkins, formerly president and COO, has resigned to pursue other business interests. “We greatly value Steve Hawkins' many contributions to Delta and Pine Land over the past five years. He has played a fundamental role in building the company's leading market position, and we wish him well in his future endeavors,” Robinson said.

Other Changes

The company also announced it has realigned its operational reporting structure, effective immediately. Murray Robinson will assume the additional responsibilities and title of president, while retaining his current titles of vice chairman and CEO.

Tom Jagodinski, senior vice president and CFO, will assume responsibility for Corporate Services in addition to his current responsibilities, and will continue to report to Murray Robinson.

Randy Dismuke, senior vice president, has assumed responsibility for all domestic operations.

John Stewart, vice president, International, continues in his role as director of international operations.

These positions, in addition to global Research and Development, Technical Services and Corporate Development, will report directly to Murray Robinson.

The company also announced that several additional changes at the corporate level will occur as part of the realignment, including the elimination of at least two corporate vice president positions.

Steve Hawkins said, “I feel privileged to have been a part of Delta and Pine Land successes, and have a great deal of confidence in this company's strong prospects for future growth under Murray Robinson's leadership. Since I joined Delta and Pine Land in 1996, the company has grown from $150 million to about $300 million in sales. I am convinced this is the right time for this transition to take place.”

The company also announced several actions to reduce expenses and increase efficiencies, which the company expects will contribute to improved performance and profitability by generating annual cost savings of approximately $3 million.

The company announced it would close its Chandler, Ariz., delinting facility. The Chandler plant employed 27 people.

D&PL will be reducing its workforce by approximately 50 positions. Employees impacted by these changes will be notified by year-end and will receive severance pay and related benefits in accordance with D&PL's policies. D&PL currently employs approximately 700 people.

Commenting on the changes, Robinson said, “The actions we are taking will provide us operational efficiencies without impeding execution of our strategic plan. That plan includes expanding our technology position for current products, maintaining our domestic position as the cottonseed delivery system of choice, increasing our growth internationally, and continuing to pursue selected opportunities in synergistic technologies. These actions will contribute to our ability to produce profitably the highest value planting seed available and to enhance shareholder value.”

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