George Weston Limited Announces $1 Billion Special Dividend

Dec 15, 2010, 17:15 ET from George Weston Limited

TORONTO, Dec. 15 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ - George Weston Limited ("Weston") (TSX: WN) announced today that it will pay a special one-time common share dividend of $1 billion, representing $7.74751 per common share, on January 25, 2011 to all common shareholders of record at the close of business on  January 18, 2011.

"The Corporation's track record of solid operating performance, combined with significant cash balances and ample liquidity to grow the business, provides the Corporation with the opportunity to reward shareholders with a return in excess of our normal dividend," said W. Galen Weston, Chairman and President of the Corporation. 

Mr. Weston added: "Capital markets have come through some very turbulent times and the Corporation took a conservative position holding excess cash. Now with increased stability in the capital markets and our strong balance sheet, the directors felt that a return of capital was appropriate. At the same time, we are preserving sufficient financial flexibility to meet the Corporation's ongoing operational and capital requirements and to pursue growth opportunities."

This dividend is designated as an "eligible" dividend for the purposes of the Income Tax Act (Canada) and any similar provincial and territorial legislation. 

About George Weston Limited

George Weston Limited is a Canadian public company founded in 1882 and through its operating subsidiaries constitutes one of North America's largest food processing and distribution groups. Weston has two reportable operating segments: Weston Foods and Loblaw, which is operated by Loblaw Companies Limited. The Weston Foods operating segment is primarily engaged in the baking industry within North America.  Loblaw is Canada's largest food distributor and a leading provider of general merchandise, drugstore and financial products and services.

Caution concerning forward-looking statements

Certain statements made in this news release, including but not limited to, statements relating to the Corporation's expected future financial condition, operating and financial performance, liquidity and capital requirements and growth prospects, and other statements constitute forward looking statements.  These forward looking statements are not historical facts but reflect the Corporation's current expectations concerning future results and events.  As a result, these statements are not guarantees of future performance and are subject to certain risks and uncertainties. 

These forward looking statements are based on current expectations, estimates and projections about the Corporation and the industries in which it operates, and are subject to known and unknown risks and uncertainties that could cause the actual results, performance or achievements expressed or implied by such forward looking statements.  Such risks and uncertainties include those described in the Corporation's 2009 Annual Report and quarterly interim reports, including the sections entitled "Forward Looking Statements".  Readers are cautioned not to place undue reliance on these forward looking statements as there can be no assurances that the plans, objectives, initiatives or expectations upon which they are based will occur. 

SOURCE George Weston Limited