January 28, 2003
Mark Geiger
Acuity Specialty Products Group, Inc.

ZEP® announces janitorial supplies contract with U.S. Communities

Atlanta, GA - (January 28, 2003) Zep Manufacturing, an Acuity Brands Company, (NYSE: AYI) and U.S. Communities, a national Cooperative Purchasing Alliance, have announced an agreement in which Zep will act as the primary provider of janitorial supplies for state and local public agencies across the United States.

Under the terms of the agreement, more than 6,000 public agencies participating in U.S. Communities’ program now have the ability to procure any of Zep’s 3,500 premium products.  Additionally, participating agencies gain the valuable solution-providing services of Zep’s highly trained 1,200-strong U.S. direct sales force.  Teams from both organizations have been formed to manage the new partnership. 
“We’re excited about our partnership with U.S. Communities and believe that both public agencies and Zep will benefit from this agreement,” said Jim Heagle, Acuity Specialty Products Group’s president and CEO.    “U.S. Communities will provide us with valuable information on members who need our abilities to solve their cleaning problems.  We in turn will provide the technical, customer service and product capabilities to offer the lowest total cost solution to U.S. Communities’ members.  We look forward to assisting each public agency with our unique cleaning solution capabilities.”

U.S. Communities is a non-profit instrumentality of government and is sponsored by the Association of School Business Officials International, National Association of Counties, National League of Cities, National Institute for Governmental Purchasing, and the United States Conference of Mayors.  U.S. Communities’ mission is “Government Purchasers Saving You Money”, and it offers public agencies access to quality products at the lowest total-cost solution.  Its contracts offer public agencies such benefits as: competitively solicited contracts by a lead government agency; no membership costs or fees to use the contracts; and non-exclusive agreements.   U.S. Communities combines potential purchasing power of up to 87,000 local agencies in all 50 states.

According to Rob Braulik, U.S. Communities Marketing Director, “Through U.S. Communities, counties, cities, school districts, special districts, colleges, universities, states and non-profit agencies can utilize the public agency competitively solicited contracts, take advantage of the enormous collective purchasing power of public agencies nationwide and leverage these savings to their own advantage.”

Zep Manufacturing, an ISO 9001 and 14001 certified company, is a leader in institutional and industrial maintenance and sanitation products.  For more than 66 years, Zep has differentiated itself from competitors by offering a diverse, high quality product line supported by one of the largest trained direct sales force in the industry.

 Zep products include hand cleaners, degreasers, sanitizers, deodorizers, polishes, floor finishes, and lubricants. Market segments include the automotive and janitorial industries, car washes, food processing, aviation, government, and manufacturing plants. Global licensing and distribution agreements put Zep products in nearly every corner of the world.

Acuity Brands, Inc., with fiscal year 2002 sales of approximately $2.0 billion, is comprised of Acuity Lighting Group and Acuity Specialty Products Group. Acuity Lighting Group is the world's leading lighting fixture manufacturer and includes brands such as Lithonia Lighting(R), Holophane(R), Peerless(R), Hydrel(R), and American Electric Lighting(R). Acuity Specialty Products Group is a leading provider of specialty chemicals and includes brands such as Zep(R), Enforcer(R), and Selig Industries(TM). Headquartered in Atlanta, Georgia, Acuity Brands employs 11,800 people and has operations throughout North America and in Europe.