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Canada Bread and Multi-Marques Expand Long-Term Business Relationship

MONTREAL, PQ – Canada Bread Company, Limited, 68% owned by Maple Leaf
Foods Inc. (TSE: MFI), and Multi-Marques Inc. announced today they have reached
an agreement for Canada Bread to increase its 25% ownership in Multi-Marques to
100% by purchasing the remaining outstanding shares currently held by six
Quebec families. Details of the transaction are not being disclosed. Closure of
the transaction, which is expected to be in April 2001, is subject to
regulatory approval.

Multi-Marques is a leading Quebec bakery
business with annual sales of over $300 million. The company owns and operates
12 baking facilities throughout Quebec, plus City Bakery in North Bay, Ontario.
Multi-Marques also owns 60% of Ben’s Bakery in the Maritimes. Ben’s has
locations in Halifax, Nova Scotia and Moncton and Grand Falls, New Brunswick.

Canada Bread and Multi-Marques have a
long-standing business partnership dating back to 1971. The operations of the
two companies are highly complementary with Multi-Marques being Quebec’s
leading bakery company.

“We have been considering our options for
future growth and development for some time and decided expanding our
relationship with Canada Bread offered the best opportunity for the future,”
said Michelle Samson-Doel, Chairman of Multi-Marques. “It is really a logical
evolution to our business with a trusted, long-time partner.”

“Multi-Marques has an excellent management
team and is one of the great operators and innovators of the Canadian baking
industry. In 2000, the company was named one of the 50 best-managed, private
companies in Canada, according to Arthur Andersen, CIBC and the National Post.
Canada Bread and Multi-Marques are a great operational and strategic fit and
we’re very pleased they chose us in considering their options,” said Richard
Lan, Chairman of Canada Bread Company, Limited and President, Maple Leaf Bakery
Group. “Together Multi-Marques and Canada Bread will be stronger than either on
its own.”

“This transaction creates a stronger, more
competitive bakery business that can serve all of our customers on a truly
national level, ” said Roger Dickhout, Chief Executive Officer of Canada Bread.
“Bringing the two together really creates the best opportunity for future
growth for all the stakeholders of both companies.”

“Expanding our business relationship with
Canada Bread helps us achieve our vision of becoming a leading company
nationally. The plan is to maintain operations on a business as usual basis.
Employees, customers and suppliers for the most part will experience little
change,” said Michel Proulx, Chief Executive Officer of Multi-Marques. “A
strong, local management team will be staying and continuing to work with
Canada Bread as we have done for a long time to grow the business.”

Under the terms of the acquisition,
Multi-Marques will retain its name and become a wholly-owned, independent
operating company of Canada Bread. While the ownership structure changes,
operationally, Multi-Marques will continue to function independently with its
own management team. The acquisition is expected to be modestly accretive to
Canada Bread’s 2001 earnings, neutral to Maple Leaf’s 2001 earnings, and
accretive to earnings thereafter.

Multi-Marques Inc. is a manufacturer and
distributor of bakery products in Quebec under the trademarks: Gailuron, Diana
Durivage, Bon Matin, Petite Douceur, POM, Cuisine Nature
and Maison
Cousin
. It markets under the Aunt May’s brand in Ontario and the Holsum,
Ben’s and Levesque brands in Nova Scotia, New Brunswick and
Prince Edward Island through its subsidiaries.

Canada Bread Company, Limited is a leading
Canadian manufacturer of value-added flour-based products. Canada Bread
maintains a national presence in the marketplace with three principal brand
names: Dempster’s™, Olivieri™, and Tenderflake™. Canada
Bread Company, Limited is 68% owned by Maple Leaf Foods Inc.
 

Maple Leaf Foods Inc. is a leading global
food processing company. Headquartered in Toronto, Canada, the company employs
more than 13,000 people at its operations across Canada and in the United
States, Europe and Asia. Maple Leaf Foods reported sales of $3.5 billion in
1999.

NOTE: Media are invited to a briefing
today at 1:00 p.m. EST at Le Centre Sheraton, Salon 7, 1201 Boulevard
René-Lévesque Ouest in Montreal. Media unable to attend in person are invited
to call in and ask questions. The dial-in number is 888-942-8171.