TORONTO – Canada Bread Company Limited (CBCL)has reached a definitive agreement to sell its fresh prepared sandwich business to Premium Brands Holding Corporation. The transaction is expected to close on Feb. 18, subject to normal closing conditions.

CBCL, which is 90% owned by Maple Leaf Foods Inc., is a leading manufacturer and distributor of fresh bakery products, frozen par-baked products and fresh pasta and sauces. It had 2009 sales of $1.7 billion and employs approximately 8,000 people at its operations across North America and in the United Kingdom.

The fresh prepared sandwich business and distribution network services customers, including grocery, convenience, gas station and other retail outlets, throughout Ontario and Quebec. This business includes three facilities: a production facility in Etobicoke, Ontario, and another in Gatineau, Quebec, as well as a distribution center in Laval, Quebec. Combined, they employ approximately 280 people.

"This sale will allow us to concentrate our resources and management focus on growth in our core fresh bakery and pasta businesses," said Richard Lan, president and CEO, Canada Bread. "We will also benefit from an ongoing supplier relationship with Premium Brands."

Once the sale is completed, Premium Brands will maintain a strong relationship with Canada Bread and Maple Leaf Consumer Foods, which will supply bakery and deli meat products for the sandwich business operations.