Maple Leaf Foods Inc.

Best-known brands: Maple Leaf, Schneiders, Dempster's

2007 Sales: $5.21 billion (71.6% from the Canadian market; 52% from meat products; 27.5% from bakery products)

2007 Profit: $207 million

Total number of employees: 23,500 as of the end of 2007.


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Michael McCain, the CEO of Maple Leaf Foods, at a news conference in August 2008. (CBC)

The Maple Leaf Consumer Foods division employed more than 13,000 people at the end of 2007, and operated nine pork and poultry primary processing facilities and 24 secondary processing plants. Two of the company's secondary processing plants — one in Saskatoon, Sask., and one in Winnipeg — are due to close this year.

The company also has seven distribution centres throughout Canada.

While a publicly-traded company, Maple Leaf's biggest owners are McCain Capital Corp. and the Ontario Teachers' Pension Plan (OTPP). As of March 10, McCain Capital owned 32 per cent of all Maple Leaf shares, while OTPP owned 33 per cent. McCain Capital held 38.6 per cent of the voting share, while OTPP's stake was 19.3 per cent.

McCain Capital and the OTPP board acquired controlling interest in the company from Hillsdown Holdings PLC in 1995.

Maple Leaf Foods was formed in 1991 in the merger of Maple Leaf Mills Ltd. and Canada Packers Inc.

Maple Leaf Mills was formed in 1961 from the amalgamation of three firms. However, its origins were Grantham Mills, which was built in 1836 in St. Catharines, Ont.

Canada Packers Inc., was formed in 1927 in Toronto, through the amalgamation of the Harris Abbatoir Co., Gunns Ltd. and the William Davies Co. — Canada's oldest meat packing company founded in the 1860s.