Maple Leaf Proceeds with Double-Shift Expansion at Brandon Plant



    Major Expansion Also Underway at Lagimodiere Road Plant in Winnipeg;
    Warman Road Facility to Close in September

    TSX: MFI

    TORONTO, March 18 /CNW/ - Maple Leaf Foods (MFI: TSX) today announced
that it is proceeding to double-shift the value-added cut operations at its
Brandon, Manitoba pork processing plant.
    The Company is investing approximately $50 million to support this
expansion, which will commence in June and be completed in September, 2008.
Maple Leaf will also be increasing production at the plant from 75,000 to
86,000 hogs per week by the end of 2009 to consolidate all of its primary pork
processing in Brandon. In addition, the Company is investing approximately
$25 million to expand its Lagimodiere Road plant in Winnipeg to consolidate
its ham boning operations in western Canada in one dedicated facility.
    By the end of 2009, Maple Leaf will create over 1100 new jobs at these
facilities, supported by an investment of over $120 million. These initiatives
are critical milestones in implementing the Company's new protein business
model, including consolidating its primary pork processing at one scale
facility, and producing high quality fresh pork products to support growth in
its value-added meats and meals businesses.
    As a result of these expansions, the Company will close its fresh pork
operation located on Warman Road in Winnipeg, which currently processes
carcasses received from Brandon into value-added pork products. Maple Leaf
expects to close the Warman Road plant by the end of September 2008 as it
completes the ramp-up of the value-added cut operations in Brandon. The Warman
Road facility employs approximately 650 people, who will be encouraged to
apply for new jobs at the Lagimodiere Road and Brandon facilities, and will be
provided financial and outplacement services to ease their transition to new
employment.
    "Manitoba is a major growth centre for our value-added meat processing
operations," said Rick Young, President, Maple Leaf Consumer Foods. "Through
our $120 million investment in the province, we are establishing highly
efficient scale plants that are globally competitive, securing a strong future
for the Manitoba pork industry, and creating ongoing growth opportunities in
our value-added meat and meals businesses. We sincerely regret the impact on
our employees at Warman Road, and will proactively support them to secure new
employment at other Maple Leaf plants or in the local economy."

    Maple Leaf Foods Inc. is a leading Canadian food processing company.
Headquartered in Toronto, Canada, the Company employs approximately
23,000 people at its operations across Canada and in the United States, United
Kingdom and Asia. The Company had sales of $5.2 billion in 2007.





For further information:

For further information: Media Contact: Rick Young, President, Maple
Leaf Consumer Foods, (204) 235-8323; Investor Contact: Lynda Kuhn, SVP
Communications, (416) 926-7031


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