Canada Bread Company, Limited (TSE: CBY), 68% owned by Maple Leaf Foods Inc. (TSE: MFI), announced Friday (12 October) that Canada Bread has closed the transaction to increase its 25% ownership in Multi-Marques to 100% by purchasing the remaining shares.

Originally announced on January 22, 2001, the transaction was subject to review under the Competition Act. The review was recently satisfactorily completed. Canada Bread has agreed to sell a portion of its foodservice business in Atlantic Canada within twelve months. While this fully addresses the competitive issue in this particular market, it will not have a material financial impact on the overall sales or financial performance of the combined business.

Multi-Marques has annual sales of over $300 million. Operations include 11 baking facilities throughout Quebec, and a bakery in North Bay, Ontario. Multi-Marques also owns 60% of Ben's Bakery which operates in Atlantic Canada with baking facilities in Halifax, Nova Scotia and Moncton and Grand Falls, New Brunswick.

"Canada Bread is now a truly national baker with operations in every province," said Richard Lan, Chairman of Canada Bread Company, Limited and President, Maple Leaf Bakery Group. "This strengthens the Maple Leaf position as we strive to be a North American leader in bakery products."

"Together, both companies will be stronger than either on its own," said Michelle Samson-Doel, Chairman of Multi-Marques.

"We're pleased that the union between Canada Bread and Multi-Marques has been finalized," said Roger Dickhout, Chief Executive Officer of Canada Bread. "Bringing these two companies together furthers our goal of creating a leading national baker that can service the needs of our customers across the country."

Canada Bread Company, Limited is a leading Canadian manufacturer of value-added flour-based products. Canada Bread maintains a national presence in the marketplace with three principal brand names: Dempster's(TM), Olivieri(TM), and Tenderflake(TM). Canada Bread Company, Limited is 68% owned by Maple Leaf Foods Inc.

Maple Leaf Foods Inc. (TSE: MFI) is a leading Canadian-based food processing company committed to delivering quality food products to consumers in Canada and around the world. Headquartered in Toronto, Canada, the company employs more than 13,000 people at its operations across Canada and in the United States, Europe and Asia. Maple Leaf Foods reported sales of $3.9 billion in 2000.