US-based food group HJ Heinz Company has announced that its chairman, president and CEO William Johnson has adopted a prearranged trading plan to exercise expiring options.

The company stated that the stock trading plan was adopted in accordance with the guidelines specified under Rule 10b5-1 of the Securities and Exchange Act of 1934.

The plan provides for the exercise of 277,487 options of Heinz Common Stock due to expire in June 2006, and liquidation of shares at certain predetermined price levels to satisfy tax obligations related to the exercise, with the intention of retaining approximately 100% of the after-tax proceeds in Heinz Common Stock. The exercises and sales are subject to satisfaction of certain conditions and continue through 9 June 2006, at which date the trading plan terminates.