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Maple Leaf eats tax hit on feed business sale

An “understatement” of the tax expenses arising from the sale of its animal feed business has led Maple Leaf Foods to restate its 2007 earnings.

The Toronto-based food firm sold what was then called Maple Leaf Animal Nutrition to Nutreco in July 2007 for $524.8 million, for a gain of $219.4 million, net of income taxes of $65.1 million.

That led to understatements of its future tax expense in its line item for “earnings from discontinued operations” and of its net future tax liability, which works out to $12.2 million.

Maple Leaf said it now must restate and refile its year-end statements for 2007, leaving the company with 2007 net earnings of $194.9 million, down from $207.1 million.

“As the sale of the animal nutrition business was reflected in the 2007
financial statements as a discontinued operation, the restatement does not
affect earnings from continuing operations in fiscal 2007 or net earnings
(loss) in fiscal 2008,” the company said Tuesday.

Maple Leaf Animal Nutrition, at the time of its sale, employed over 1,200 people and operated 18 feed mills and a research and development facility.

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