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MINNEAPOLIS - March 12, 2003 - U.S. Bancorp Piper Jaffray, a leading growth company investment bank and merger and acquisition advisory firm, served as exclusive financial advisor to HB&G Building Products, Inc., a portfolio company of Ardshiel, Inc. and GE Asset Management, Inc., in its sale to Graham Partners. The transaction closed on March 10, 2003.

HB&G Building Products, based in Troy, Ala., is a rapidly growing manufacturer of premium quality synthetic and wood specialty millwork, serving the new construction and renovation/replacement markets. Its broad product portfolio is centered on its industry-leading line of synthetic structural architectural columns. Over the past decade, the company has leveraged its market leadership in synthetic columns to expand its product portfolio to include other high growth synthetic product categories such as porch posts, railing systems, balustrades, moldings and entrance features. Today, HB&G Building Products is widely recognized as one of the leading manufacturers of synthetic and wood specialty millwork.

"HB&G was extremely well received in the marketplace," stated Michael Dillahunt, principal of U.S. Bancorp Piper Jaffray's Middle Market Mergers and Acquisitions Group and head of the firm's building products investment banking efforts. "The company's outstanding track record for growth, its market leadership position in specialty millwork and the ongoing trend in certain building products categories away from traditional materials toward synthetic alternatives, represented an exciting growth opportunity for strategic and financial acquirers alike."

"For Ardshiel and GE Asset Management, the transaction was an opportunity to exit their investment at a attractive valuation," added Glenn Gurtcheff, managing director and co-head of U.S. Bancorp Piper Jaffray's Middle Market Mergers and Acquisitions Group. "HB&G's senior management team gained the opportunity to partner with a value-added investor who shares their vision for the significant growth opportunities that lie ahead for the company. In the case of Graham Partners, HB&G represents an opportunity to invest in a clear market leader serving the high-growth synthetic building products market. In short, the resulting transaction was an exceptional outcome for all parties involved."

About Ardshiel Inc. and GE Asset Management:
Ardshiel, based in Greenwich, Conn. is a private-equity-investment firm that partners with management teams to make controlling, or significant minority investments in middle-market operating companies. The firm manages approximately $300 million, which can provide both the equity and mezzanine capital to complete its investment transactions. Ardshiel's partner in this endeavor is Stamford, Conn.-based GE Asset Management, which manages $170 billion for General Electric Pension Trust and other institutional investors.

About Graham Partners:
Graham Partners is a private equity firm based in suburban Philadelphia that focuses on acquiring and investing in privately held middle-market industrial companies. Since the firm's founding in 1988, Graham Partners has closed over $3 billion in acquisitions, joint ventures, financings and divestitures and has had first-hand involvement in the operations of companies in numerous different manufacturing sectors.

U.S. Bancorp Piper Jaffray, a subsidiary of Minneapolis-based U.S. Bancorp, is a focused securities firm comprised of three divisions: Equity Capital Markets, Fixed Income Capital Markets and Private Advisory Services. The firm provides a full range of investment products and services to individuals, institutions and businesses. The firm has over 120 offices in 24 states across the country. The Equity Capital Markets Division focuses on the needs of growth companies in the health care, technology, financial institutions, consumer and communications growth sectors. The firm has a national reputation for its expertise in fundamental research and equity and debt financing. The Fixed Income Capital Markets business provides bond issuers, individual investors and institutional investors expertise in investment banking, underwriting, trading, sales and research. The firm offers innovative solutions in corporate and government debt financings with particular expertise in corporate, health care/hospitals, real estate, higher education and government debt. The Private Advisory Services division financial advisors provide guidance in retirement planning, education planning, estate planning and wealth accumulation. Investors select from a wide array of products, including fee-based products, stocks, bonds, mutual funds, annuities, insurance and trust services. U.S. Bancorp offers a comprehensive range of financial solutions through U.S. Bank, U.S. Bancorp Asset Management, U.S. Bancorp Investments and U.S. Bancorp Piper Jaffray. For more information on U.S. Bancorp Piper Jaffray, visit © 2003 U.S. Bancorp Piper Jaffray, 800 Nicollet Mall, Suite 800, Minneapolis, Minnesota 55402-7020

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