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Maple Leaf Reports Q1 Results – Positive Benefits from Vertical Coordination Bakery Results Continue to Improve

Toronto, Ontario – May 3, 2000….Maple Leaf Foods Inc. (TSE:MFI) today reported
its results for the quarter ended March 31, 2000.

Sales for the quarter of $818.3 million compared to $869.4 million last year.
The Meat Products Group and the Bakery Products Group reported lower sales, due
in part to the impact of an extra week in the first quarter of 1999. In
addition, sales from the Brandon pork facility are not included in sales for
the quarter. The Agribusiness Group reported increased sales, largely due to
the inclusion of sales for the Landmark Group. Earnings from operations of
$18.2 million compared to $29.3 million last year. The Bakery Products Group
and the Agribusiness Group both reported increased earnings while the Meat
Products Group earnings declined from 1999. Net earnings of $5.5 million ($0.05
per share), compared to $10.8 million ($0.10 per share) in the prior year.

“This has certainly been a challenging quarter of implementation against our
primary business strategies”, said Mr. Michael H. McCain, President & Chief
Executive Officer of Maple Leaf Foods, “compounded by the cyclical highs of the
hog market. However, we have much to be pleased about, including achieving some
important milestones in our pork business, achieving financial benefits from
our vertical coordination business model, and seeing continued operational and
financial improvements in our bakery operations. We are highly confident in the
long term positioning of our company, as our strategies continue to unfold.”

Meat Products Group

Meat Product Group sales of $470.8 million compared to $527.5 million last
year. Sales of $70.7 million and start-up losses of $18.5 million for the
Brandon pork facility are not included in the statement of earnings for the
quarter. On a comparable basis, sales increased quarter-over-quarter. The Group
recorded a loss from operations of $1.9 million compared to earnings from
operations of $17.8 million last year.

Maple Leaf Pork was adversely impacted by high live hog prices, up 50% over
those in the first quarter last year, by the absence of contribution from the
Winnipeg pork facility which was closed last November, and by the
organizational stress related to the start-up of the Brandon facility which
came on line in late 1999. Maple Leaf Pork achieved several strategic
operational milestones during the quarter. In spite of the start-up losses, we
are extremely pleased with the start-up of the Brandon facility. The Brandon,
Manitoba and Burlington, Ontario facilities became the only two pork plants in
the world to be approved for export of pork to China. The first shipments to
China were made in late April. Maple Leaf Pork also began importing live hogs
from the United States for processing in the Burlington facility in April .
These are the first hogs from the U.S. processed in Canada in over 60 years.
The importation was made possible as a result of recent changes to the protocol
for importing live hogs from the United States. Opportunities to import hogs
from the U.S. for processing in the Brandon facility will also be pursued, in
response to the large number of Canadian hogs that have historically been
shipped south for processing in the U.S.

Maple Leaf Consumer Foods’ results were lower than anticipated due to margin
pressure from higher meat costs and some inefficiencies experienced during the
recently completed manufacturing restructuring which began in late 1999. Maple
Leaf Poultry continued to improve market distribution and market share of Maple
Leaf Prime chicken and turkey products. Maple Leaf Foods International recorded
satisfactory results.

Bakery Products Group

Bakery Product Group sales of $153.5 million compared to $175.4 million last
year. The decline is largely a result of the sale of Franchise Operations at
the end of the second quarter last year and the effect of an extra week in the
first quarter of 1999. Earnings from operations of $3.1 million increased from
$0.3 million last year. Canada Bread Company, Limited continued to make
operational and financial progress as a result of aggressive implementation of
its six-point turnaround strategy. In the United States, sales of core
par-baked bread products continued to grow strongly, with quarter-over-quarter
sales up 15%. By the end of the first quarter, Maple Leaf Bakery was operating
close to break even as a result of improved manufacturing performance, cost
reduction initiatives and increased retail sales.

Agribusiness Group

Agribusiness Group sales of $194.0 million increased by 16% from $166.6 million
last year. Operating earnings of $17.0 million increased by 50% from $11.3
million last year. The sales and operating earnings increases include the
results of Landmark Feeds and Elite Swine which were acquired in the fourth
quarter of 1999. The Agribusiness Group’s results also benefited from our
vertical coordination business model, balancing the cyclical low margins being
experienced in pork markets due to high hog costs.

Other income for the quarter of $4.2 million compared to $0.4 million reported
last year. The increase is largely due to increased earnings from associated
companies, including Elite Swine’s hog production related investments, and
profits from sales of real estate development lots.

Subsequent to the end of the quarter, the Company completed a private placement
of $225 million, 10-year notes to a group of Canadian and United States
investors, and the acquisition of Hub Meat Packers in Atlantic Canada closed on
May 1, 2000.

The Company declared a dividend of $0.04 per share payable on June 30, 2000 to
shareholders of record on June 16, 2000.


Q1 2000 Report (PDF File Size = 63K)

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION PLEASE CONTACT:
Tom Muir
Chief Financial Officer
(416) 926-2050