Dec 03, 2010, 18:40 ET from Maple Leaf Foods Inc.

TORONTO, Dec. 3 /PRNewswire/ - Maple Leaf Foods Inc. ("Maple Leaf" or the "Company") (TSX: MFI) today responded to a requisition for a Special Meeting of shareholders by West Face Capital. West Face has said the purpose of the meeting is to give shareholders the opportunity to vote on five, non-binding, advisory resolutions.

"Maple Leaf Foods has an outstanding board, is recognized for the strength of its corporate governance which is dominated by some of Canada's leading independent directors and has always been committed to continuous improvement," said James F. Hankinson, Chairman of the Corporate Governance Committee of Maple Leaf's Board of Directors. "In fact, the Board had already committed to a proactive process designed to result in constructive board renewal."

With the recent resignation of two directors appointed by Ontario Teachers' Pension Plan, and their announcement to divest of their remaining shares of the Company, Maple Leaf's Board recently began an initiative to review board composition and succession. Specifically, the Board has been engaged in dialogue with West Face and other shareholders to consider their views. The governance committee was scheduled to meet to consider these matters at the time of this notice.

"Today's statement by West Face and its decision to launch what we believe is a costly, and unnecessary process, knowing full well the Board was already commissioning such a review including soliciting their input, is unproductive and contrary to the best interest of Maple Leaf Foods and its shareholders," said Mr. Hankinson.

The Maple Leaf Board will review West Face's requisition for a special meeting in detail and provide further comment in due course.

Forward-Looking Statements

This document contains, and the Company's oral and written public communications often contain, forward-looking statements that are based on current expectations, estimates, forecasts and projections about the industries in which the Company operates and beliefs and assumptions made by the Management of the Company. Such statements include, but are not limited to, statements with respect to objectives and goals, as well as statements with respect to beliefs, plans, expectations, anticipations, estimates and intentions. Specific statements include, but are not limited to, statements with respect to expectations concerning improving trends in operational results and expectations regarding actions to reduce costs, improved efficiencies, restore volumes and/or increase prices. Words such as "expect," "anticipate," "intend," "attempt," "may," "will," "plan," "believe," "seek," "estimate," and variations of such words and similar expressions are intended to identify such forward-looking statements. These statements are not guarantees of future performance and involve assumptions and risks and uncertainties that are difficult to predict. 

In addition, expectations concerning performance of the Company's business in general are based on a number of factors and assumptions including, but not limited to: the condition of the Canadian, United States, United Kingdom and Japanese economies; the rate of exchange of the Canadian dollar to the U.S. dollar, British pound and Japanese yen; expectations regarding actions to reduce costs, restore volumes and/or increase prices; the availability and prices of raw materials, energy and supplies; product pricing; the availability of insurance; the competitive environment and related market conditions; improvement of operating efficiencies whether as a result of the protein business transformation or otherwise; continued access to capital; the cost of compliance with environmental and health standards; no adverse results from ongoing litigation that would not be covered by insurance; no unexpected actions of domestic and foreign governments and the general assumption that none of the risks identified under "Risk Factors" in the Company's Annual Management's Discussion and Analysis for the year ended December 31, 2009 will materialize. All of these assumptions have been derived from information currently available to the Company including information obtained by the Company from third-party sources. These assumptions may prove to be incorrect in whole or in part. In addition, actual results may differ materially from those expressed, implied or forecasted in such forward-looking statements, which reflect the Company's expectations only as of the date hereof. 

Factors that could cause actual results or outcomes to differ materially from the results expressed, implied or forecasted by forward-looking statements are discussed more fully in the Company's Annual Management's Discussion and Analysis for the year ended December 31, 2009 including the section entitled "Risk Factors" that is available on SEDAR at The Company does not intend to, and the Company disclaims any obligation to, update any forward-looking statements, whether written or oral, or whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise except as required by law.

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.