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Maple Leaf Reports 2003 First Quarter Financial Results

Toronto, Ontario – Maple Leaf Foods Inc. (TSE:MFI) today reported its financial
results for the first quarter ended March 31, 2003.

Sales for the first quarter of $1.3 billion compared to $1.2 billion for the
same period last year, while earnings from operations before unusual items of
$33.2 million decreased from $41.7 million last year. Earnings from operations
were impacted by a $7.4 million special charge ($4.8 million after tax) related
to plant closures and operational restructuring in the Bakery Products Group. A
gain of $4.7 million pre-tax ($3.1 million after-tax) is included in the
Company’s Meat Products Group results, related to the wind-up of a defined
benefit pension plan for hourly employees. Profitability declined in the
Company’s Protein Value Chain operations, which is comprised of the Meat
Products Group and the Agribusiness Group, as a result of the oversupply of
meat proteins in North America, low hog prices and high feed costs, and the
effects of operational changes underway in Atlantic Canada. Strong performance
in the Company’s Bakery Products Group and its value-added and processed meat
business helped to offset the earnings impact of difficult hog and fresh meat

Net earnings for the first quarter of $ 6.0 million ($0.04 per share) decreased
from $16.9 million ($0.14 per share) in 2002. After adjusting for the
restructuring charge in the Bakery Products Group and the pension gain in the
Meat Products Group, earnings per share of $0.05 compared to $0.14 last year.

“Our first quarter results reflect the continuing impact of a surplus in beef,
pork and poultry products across North America, although we continued to
outperform most of the industry,” said Michael McCain, President and Chief
Executive Officer. “From a longer-term perspective, over the past seven years
we have achieved a 13% compound annual growth rate in our earnings per share, a
solid performance record. The fundamentals of our Company are very strong, and
I fully expect that when these markets correct themselves, as they always have,
that we are well positioned to drive profitable growth.”

Other income for the first quarter of $0.3 million compared to $1.6 million for
the same period last year, reflecting lower earnings from gain on sale of
investments. Interest expense for the quarter of $16.2 million increased from
$13.4 million for the prior year due to higher borrowing costs as a result of
the long-term debt financing completed in December 2002. Cash flow from
operating activities for the first quarter was a use of funds of $53.3 million
compared to a use of funds of $7.4 million last year, reflecting an increased
investment in working capital and lower earnings in the first quarter of 2003.
Capital expenditures of $20.3 million compared to $18.6 million last year.

During the quarter, the Company repurchased for cancellation 122,200 common
shares pursuant to a normal course issuer bid at an average price of $9.81 per

Meat Products Group (branded value-added prepared meat products; fresh, frozen
and branded value-added pork products; fresh, frozen and branded value-added
chicken and turkey products; and global food marketing, distribution and

Meat Product Group sales for the first quarter were $721 million compared to
$737 million last year. Earnings from operations of $6.3 million (including the
$4.7 million pension plan wind-up gain), compared to $12.5 million last year.
Maple Leaf Pork increased the volume of hogs processed by 10% quarter-over
quarter, however, dollar sales value declined as a result of lower fresh meat
prices due to the continued oversupply of protein in the market. A significant
reduction of the breeding herd and a forecasted decline in protein production
in North America suggest improved pork prices later in 2003.

Earnings in the Meat Products Group were also adversely affected by
approximately $4 million due to operational changes underway in Atlantic
Canada, a process that will be completed later in the year. Markets for Maple
Leaf Prime Naturally chicken improved in the quarter. Year-over-year poultry
production declines in North America and the expected resumption of U.S.
exports to Russia are forecasted to strengthen poultry prices. Maple Leaf Foods
International had solid results in the quarter, as did Maple Leaf Consumer
Foods, which achieved strong market share growth and margin gains in its retail
branded business.

Agribusiness Group (research, development and supply of quality livestock
nutrition products and services; pet food; swine production; and animal
by-products recycling)

Agribusiness Group sales for the first quarter were $223 million, up slightly
from $221 million last year, while operating earnings of $13.7 million
decreased from $17.3 million for the same period last year. Shur-Gain and
Landmark Feeds animal nutrition operations and pet food business recorded solid
quarter-over-quarter improvements in profitability. The decline in
profitability in the Group was largely the result of a significant decline in
hog prices and an increase in feed costs on a quarter-over-quarter basis. Hog
prices showed early signs of strengthening in the quarter and are forecasted to
continue to improve.

Bakery Products Group (comprised of Maple Leaf’s 73.3% ownership in Canada
Bread Company, Ltd., a leading producer of fresh and frozen par-baked bakery
products, and fresh pasta and sauces)

Bakery Products Group sales for the first quarter increased 16% to $308 million
compared to $265 million for the same period last year. The increase in sales
was due to the contribution from recent acquisitions and internal growth,
driven by increased branded product sales. Operating earnings before unusual
items in the Bakery Products Group of $13.3 million increased 11% compared to
$12.0 million last year, reflecting improved sales and synergies from the
integration of acquisitions, plant consolidations, transportation and
distribution restructuring and other cost reductions. Rising input prices
experienced over the last few quarters have largely been recovered through
price increases in Canada, while offsetting price increases are still underway
in the United States. The Company is adding another par-baked line at its
bakery plant in Roanoke, Virginia, to meet the requirements of a new exclusive
10-year contract with a major North American food service chain. During the
quarter, Canada Bread recorded a $7.4 million charge ($4.8 million net of tax)
related to the closure of its bakery in London, Ontario and other operational

On January 30, 2003 Maple Leaf completed the purchase of four million common
shares from Canada Bread for $26.50 per share in a private placement. This
share purchase increased Maple Leaf’s ownership of Canada Bread to 73.3% from

The Company declared a dividend of $0.04 per share payable on June 30, 2003 to
shareholders of record on June 13, 2003.

Maple Leaf Foods Inc. is a leading Canadian food processing company committed
to delivering quality food products to consumers around the world.
Headquartered in Toronto, Canada, the Company employs approximately 18,000
people at its operations across Canada, and in the United States, Europe and
Asia. Maple Leaf Foods Inc. reported sales of $5.1 billion in 2002.
A conference call will be held at 2:30 p.m. (Toronto time) on April 30, 2003 to
review Maple Leaf Foods’ financial results for the first quarter ended March
31, 2003. To participate in the call, please dial in to 1-800-298-3006. For
those unable to participate playback will be made available an hour after the
event at 1-800-558-5253 passcode #21140584.

An Investor Presentation related to the Company’s first quarter financial
results is also available at (click on Investor Zone and then
Investor Communications). A live webcast of the Maple Leaf Foods Annual General
Meeting, which is being held today, will be available commencing at 11:00 a.m.
at A replay of the webcast will also be available at
the shortly after the Annual General Meeting.

This release contains forward-looking statements and information, which may
include statements concerning the company’s outlook for the future, as well as
other statements of beliefs, future plans and strategies or anticipated events,
and similar expressions concerning matters that are not historical facts. The
forward-looking information and statements are subject to risks and
uncertainties that could cause actual results to differ materially from those
expressed in, or implied by, the statements. These risks and uncertainties
include availability and prices of livestock, raw materials and supplies,
livestock costs, product pricing, the competitive environment and related
market conditions, operating efficiencies, access to capital, the cost of
compliance with environmental and health standards, adverse results from
ongoing litigation and actions of domestic and foreign governments. Maple Leaf
assumes no obligation to publicly update or revise these forward-looking
statements even if experience or future changes make it clear that any
projected results expressed or implied therein do not materialize. Refer to the
Company’s annual report, management information circular, annual information
form and other filings with the Ontario Securities Commission and Toronto Stock
Exchange for further information on risks and uncertainties that could cause
actual results to differ materially from forward-looking statements.