12/22/1998

AEP and Industrial Customers Complete 1998 Trade Mission Season

COLUMBUS, Ohio, Dec. 22, 1998 -- American Electric Power (NYSE:AEP) and several industrial customers recently met in Mexico City with businesses seeking U.S. products and services. Accompanied on the trade mission by AEP representatives and translators, the four industrial customers attended receptions with Mexican companies and had individual appointments with prospective agents who might be able to market their products abroad. The U.S. participants were diverse and featured a metals finishing business, a candy company, a medical supply company and a manufacturer of axles, wheels and running gear components for the trailer industry. The trade mission held Oct. 19-23 culminated the 1998 Going Global J season. Throughout the year, AEP offered several trade events as part of its Going Global J export program, which is designed to help industrial customers grow and remain healthy through increased international sales. As part of the program, participants are paired with prospective customers and marketing agents in other countries. Gary Sharpe, president of Health Care Logistics in Circleville, Ohio, went on the trade mission with AEP and hoped to find a distributor in Mexico. Sharpe’s company assembles medical products and resells additional products, such as storage systems, unit dose supplies and tablet crushers. “This trade mission was by far more productive than similar ventures sponsored by other organizations. I had made absolutely no headway in Mexico in three years. We just weren’t turning up any distributors,” Sharpe said. AEP scheduled Sharpe to meet with several Mexican distributors at their offices. “The quality of these distributors was excellent. I especially liked meeting them at their own offices. I got a much better feel for how organized they were. It also allowed the distributors to open up more since they were on their own turf, so to speak. They seemed more comfortable and relaxed,” Sharpe said. Other customers attending the trade mission included Dexter Axle of Elkhart, Ind.; It’s Beautiful LTD/Anthony-Thomas Candy Co. of Columbus; and a Fort Wayne, Ind., manufacturer. AEP is offering trade missions next year to Argentina, Chile, Mexico, Canada and Brazil. The 1999 schedule is as follows: April 18-23: Buenos Aires, Argentina; and Santiago, Chile. Last year, U.S. companies exported $5.8 billion to Argentina and $4.3 billion to Chile. The two countries are experiencing economic stability and a liberal trading climate. Major new investments in mining, oil and gas, along with automotive and food processing industrial sectors and a continuing program to modernize their transport and communications infrastructures offer a growing market for a great variety of U.S. products and services. Registration closed. June 6-11: Monterrey and Mexico City, Mexico Trade mission participants will travel to Monterrey and Mexico City and meet with six to eight companies in each location. During the past five years, AEP has arranged for 28 customers to participate in trade shows in Monterrey, while 33 companies have gone to trade events in Mexico City. The companies reported positive experiences with the trade shows and were especially pleased with their individual appointments. Their satisfaction led AEP to develop the trade mission format in 1999, which focuses on individual appointments with potential distributors. Mexico was the second largest market for U.S. goods last year, with imports totaling $71 billion. Registration deadline is Feb. 26. Sept. 13-18: Montreal and Quebec City, Canada The success of AEP’s trade mission with seven customers in Quebec last year and seven additional customers in September led to the development of a third trip. AEP worked on a successful mission format with U.S. commercial personnel in Montreal and Quebec City, and was able to arrange more than 60 one-on-one meetings with local businesses. U.S. Consul Generals in both cities will again host business receptions at their residences. Registration deadline is June 14. Oct. 10-15: Sao Paulo, Brazil AEP and its customers will attend their second trade event in Brazil, which imported nearly $16 billion from the United States last year. Brazil is a growing market for U.S. exports and has more than 160 million residents and a land area larger than the continental United States. The United States is the chief foreign investor in Brazil, with a total direct investment in 1996 of $26 billion. Brazil is in the midst of an economic transformation that includes modernization of the country’s infrastructure and an expanding privatization program. Real Gross Domestic Product growth in the country has averaged 4 percent from 1993 to 1997. The numerous export opportunities can best be evaluated by a visit to Brazil, particularly to the large metropolis of Sao Paulo. Registration deadline is July 9. Nov. 8-12: United Kingdom This will be the third trade event AEP and its customers have attended in the United Kingdom. Many U.S. companies have used Britain as a base for entering the European Union market. Plans for this mission include visits to Birmingham and the Bradford-Leeds area, both important industrial and commercial centers. Participants will also matched with local companies to discuss possibilities for agency, distribution and other forms of business arrangements. Customers also will participate in a walk through of the Manufacturing Week show at the National Exhibition Center in Birmingham as a means of gaining insight into the industrial supplies and equipment market. Registration deadline is July 19. “Going Global has an aggressive schedule in 1999,” said Christine Sorg, AEP’s international development manager. “We developed the schedule in response to customer interest and available AEP resources. We are looking forward to excellent customer participation.” Additional information on AEP’s Going Global program may be obtained by calling Sorg at 614/883-7722. AEP, a global energy company, is one of the United States' largest investor-owned utilities, providing energy to 3 million customers in Indiana, Kentucky, Michigan, Ohio, Tennessee, Virginia and West Virginia. AEP has holdings in the United States, the United Kingdom, China and Australia. Wholly owned subsidiaries provide power engineering, energy consulting and energy management services around the world. The company is based in Columbus, Ohio. On Dec. 22, 1997, AEP announced a definitive merger agreement for a tax-free, stock-for-stock transaction with Central and South West Corp., a public utility holding company based in Dallas.

For More Information, Contact: Jeri Waters Media Relations American Electric Power 614/223-1917

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