TORONTO, Dec. 23 /PRNewswire/ - Maple Leaf Foods Inc. (TSX: MFI) today announced that it has called an Annual and Special Meeting of Shareholders for 11:00 a.m. local time on April 28, 2011 in Toronto, Ontario. In addition to the regular agenda of the annual meeting, which includes, among other things the appointment of auditors and election of directors, the shareholders will be asked to vote on five non-binding advisory resolutions put forward by West Face Capital. West Face Capital, a Toronto-based hedge fund owning approximately 11.4% of the Company's shares outstanding, has requisitioned a shareholders' meeting to vote on these resolutions.
The Board will be holding the vote on the West Face Capital resolutions at the annual meeting rather than at a separate meeting to enable shareholders to properly consider the non-binding advisory resolutions in the context of the Board's ongoing renewal process and the election of directors. In addition, in view of the proximity to the annual meeting, the cost of holding two separate meetings is not justified.
Maple Leaf's Board of Directors recently established a Shareholder Relations Committee to lead the Board's ongoing renewal process and respond to the West Face Capital resolutions. The Committee is comprised of James Hankinson (Chair), Geoff Beattie, John Bragg, Claude Lamoureux and Jeffrey Gandz, each of whom is an independent director.
"Maple Leaf Foods is committed to strong corporate governance," said Mr. Hankinson. "Our Board includes nine highly qualified, respected and independent directors including three who have joined the Board in the past few years. Recent changes in the composition of our Board and in our shareholder base require changes to the Board. The Shareholder Relations Committee is actively seeking input on the Board renewal process from Maple Leaf shareholders and we expect to provide a substantive update on our progress prior to the Annual and Special Meeting. This will enable shareholders to make an informed vote on the West Face Capital resolutions."
Maple Leaf Foods will mail a management proxy circular to shareholders well in advance of the Annual and Special Meeting.
Maple Leaf Foods Inc. is a leading food processing company, headquartered in Toronto, Canada. The Company employs approximately 22,500 people at its operations across Canada and in the United States, the United Kingdom, and Asia. The Company had sales of $5.2 billion in 2009.
SOURCE Maple Leaf Foods Inc.