TSX: MFITORONTO, May 21, 2007 /PRNewswire-FirstCall via COMTEX News Network/ — Maple Leaf Foods (TSX: MFI) today
announced that it has reached a definitive agreement to sell its animal
nutrition business to Nutreco Holding NV (“Nutreco”) for CAD$500 million plus
normal closing adjustments. The transaction is expected to close in July 2007.
“We are delighted to have reached this agreement with Nutreco,” said
Michael McCain, President and CEO of Maple Leaf Foods. “This sale is another
major step on our transformational journey as we focus on our core value added
bakery, meats and meals businesses.”
“Our animal nutrition business is a leader in Canada with a great
management team, dedicated employees and excellent prospects, but it does not
fit our new strategy. I am very pleased that Nutreco recognized the value of
this business. The transaction will result in a significant de-leveraging of
our balance sheet and provide Maple Leaf with even more flexibility to
re-invest in our value added businesses.”
Maple Leaf Foods is reorganizing its protein value chain operations, which
include its animal nutrition, hog production, and fresh and further processed
meats operations, to focus on growth in its value added meat and meals
businesses. The Company is on track to complete this process by the end of
2009, with the strategy to significantly increase earnings and reduce its
exposure to underlying currency and commodity influences.
Maple Leaf Animal Nutrition is an independent operating company of Maple
Leaf Foods, with sales of approximately CAD$650 million and 2006 earnings
before interest and taxes of approximately $47 million. It is Canada’s leading
animal nutrition company, employs over 1,200 people, and operates a
world-class research and development facility and 18 feed manufacturing
facilities across Canada and in New York State.
Nutreco is a global leader in the animal nutrition and fish feed business,
with principal activities including the processing and marketing of a full
range of complete feed and premix products for poultry, swine, dairy, beef and
aquaculture producers. Headquartered in the Netherlands, Nutreco operates 75
production plants in 20 countries and employs approximately 8,000 people. The
company had sales of approximately EUR(euro)3 billion in 2006.
RBC Capital Markets was the financial advisor to Maple Leaf Foods on the
Maple Leaf Foods Inc. is a leading food processing company, headquartered
in Toronto, Canada. The Company employs approximately 24,000 people at its
operations across Canada and in the United States, the United Kingdom and
Asia, and had sales of $5.9 billion in 2006.
SOURCE Maple Leaf Foods Inc.
Michael Vels, Chief Financial Officer, Maple Leaf Foods Inc, (416) 926-2048