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The Daily Breeze

Saturday, January 15, 2005

Another Farmer will take charge of coffee company

Carol Farmer Waite is tapped as director, dashing rumors the Torrance-area Farmer Bros. Co. will be sold.

Daily Breeze

After several days of speculation that the founding family of Farmer Bros Co. would give up control of the company, the Torrance-area coffee roaster said Friday that a Farmer family member will join the board.

At a special meeting Thursday, the board appointed Carol Farmer Waite, 58, as a director, to fill the position left by her late brother.

Chairman, CEO and president Roy E. Farmer died Jan. 7 of a self-inflicted gunshot wound. His death sent the company's stock up nearly 30 percent in three days on speculation that the Farmer company would be sold.

"Our family is unanimous in our commitment to this company," Farmer Waite said in a statement. "We've suffered a huge personal loss but we'd like to assure the company's employees, customers and stockholders that it is our wish for Farmer Brothers Coffee to continue the legacy of my grandfather, father and brother. Farmer Brothers is too big a part of our lives for us to change that."

With prospects for a sale seemingly diminished, investors sent the company's stock price down nearly 3 percent on Friday.

Farmer Bros. also said it would release information on who controls the 39 percent family stake in the company after Farmer Waite's father, Roy F. Farmer, died in March.

"We have requested the information from the Farmer family's attorneys necessary to enable the company to make the required filings. We believe the information will be forthcoming soon," said corporate secretary John Anglin in an e-mail to an investor forum. A company spokesman authenticated the e-mail.

Farmer Waite retired last year after teaching for 33 years at Cox Elementary School in the Fountain Valley School District. She still works as a school volunteer and substitute teacher.

Farmer Waite worked at Farmer Bros. in the early 1970s, starting in the equipment control department. Her son, Jonathan, is employed at the company.

Farmer Waite's grandfather and granduncle founded the coffee company in 1912.

Farmer Bros. shares fell 80 cents, or 2.71 percent Friday on Nasdaq.

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2004 Copley Press, Inc.


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