SOURCE: Thomas Equipment Inc.

April 10, 2006 08:00 ET

Thomas Equipment Ships Its First Private-Labeled Telescopic Handler to Asian OEM

Two Months After the Tovel Acquisition, Thomas Delivers on Its Strategy to Leverage Newly Acquired Product Through Its OEM Partnerships

MILWAUKEE, WI -- (MARKET WIRE) -- April 10, 2006 -- Thomas Equipment Inc. ("Thomas") (AMEX: THM) announced today that it has begun its first shipment for testing of its most popular, high-volume telescopic handler model to its private-label OEM customer in Asia. This delivery represents the first OEM product launched from Thomas' recent Tovel product line acquisition. Upon OEM testing-approval, Thomas expects to ship additional products to the OEM partner's worldwide dealer network.

In February 2006, Thomas purchased the assets and intellectual property, including 3 patents, of Tovel's 6 models of rough-terrain forklifts, 5 models of telescopic handlers, 10 attachments and a line of mortar and plaster mixers. Tovel, incorporated in 1970, was a small Canadian manufacturer, long recognized for its world-class, quality products and prompt, efficient technical service, and excellent reliability record. While Tovel developed world-class quality products, they never achieved great volume or market awareness due to a lack of marketing and distribution.

The Tovel acquisition and these shipments prove that innovative and high quality product lines can be opportunistically acquired and leveraged through its existing distribution channels, and are the latest achievement under its "Thomas2" Initiative which was unveiled in January 2005. Thomas2 is a strategic initiative to drive organic revenue growth to the natural power of Thomas' businesses and to expand Thomas' worldwide brand recognition and prowess.

The first of the Tovel products to be leveraged through the Thomas distribution channel is a product class which represented approximately half of Tovel's business in 2005. The overall equipment industry sells approximately 5,000 units of this class of telescopic handler to North America annually. The Thomas Laser Model TL 8-44-42 is an 8,000-pound lift capacity telescopic handler with a 42-ft boom height. The unit features four wheel drive combined with four wheel steering and lists at approximately $100,000 per unit. This product was uniquely designed to offer the user greater visibility, more robust maneuverability in difficult terrain and easier maintenance. The Thomas Laser telescopic handler is being manufactured at Thomas' newly leased facility in Toronto. Thomas intends to increase current production capacity three-fold from 200 units to 600 units to accommodate demand from both its dealer network and that of its OEM partners without significant capital equipment or working capital.

"Last week we engaged Realization Services, Inc., in part, to streamline the integration of highly synergistic acquisitions of this type. We are poised to leverage our infrastructure and distribution channels with such new products lines which will accelerate our growth," commented Clifford Rhee, president and CEO of Thomas Equipment. "Our customer base, dealer network and strategic OEM partners have requested these product lines and identified other product lines for future expansion, consistent with our traditional level of product excellence."

"Tovel took many years to develop a high quality and respected product line. They lacked recognition and distribution. Given Thomas' growing dealer and OEM relationships, it is uniquely positioned to capitalize on the marketing and distribution of such high quality products to its customers," commented David Marks, Chairman of Thomas Equipment. "We will continue to seek and execute upon similar opportunities and strategies that provide a compelling value proposition for our shareholders."

About Thomas Equipment Inc.

Thomas Equipment Inc., www.thomas-equipment.com, www.thomasloaders.com, and its subsidiaries including Pneutech Inc., www.pneutech.ca, Rousseau Controls Inc., www.rousseaucontrols.com, Samsung Industry Co. Ltd., www.ss-ind.com, and Hydramen Fluid Power Limited, www.hydramen.com: Thomas is an innovative and technologically advanced global manufacturer of a full line of skid steer and mini skid steer loaders, rough terrain forklifts, telescopic handlers as well as attachments, mortar/plaster mixers, mortar boxes, buggies, mobile screening plants and six models of mini excavators. Thomas distributes its products through a worldwide network of distributors and wholesalers. In addition, Thomas' wholly owned subsidiaries manufacture specialty industrial and construction products, a complete line of potato harvesting and handling equipment, fluid power components, pneumatic and hydraulic systems, spiral wound metal gaskets, and packing material.

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