Our Society is especially concerned with any events involving Canadian vessel operations and many of us have been observing the recent activities of Upper Lakes Shipping, wondering what the outcome of takeover negotiations would hold for this Toronto firm. Our thanks to our Treasurer, Jim Kidd, for obtaining the following details.
Of considerable interest to ship fans was the frenzied trading of shares of Maple Leaf Milling Ltd., which took place on the Toronto Stock Exchange and even saw trading suspended for two hours on December 19, 1969.
On December 17th, Neonex International Ltd., a Vancouver-based conglomerate, announced that it had made a deal with Bruce A. Norris of Chicago for cash and stock transfer to purchase Norris Grain Ltd. of Winnipeg. Norris may be better known as owner of the Detroit Red Wings hockey club. Norris Grain Ltd. held a 38% interest in Maple Leaf Mills Ltd. of Toronto and a 66% interest in Upper Lakes Shipping Ltd. Upper Lakes in turn owned 28% of Maple Leaf Mills.
Then on December 20th, Molson Industries of Montreal made a bid to acquire control of Maple Leaf Mills and this bid had the support of J.D. Leitch who was President of Upper Lakes and Chairman of the Board of Maple Leaf Mills. Molson announced an offer through the Toronto Stock Exchange to purchase shares on the open market in hopes of acquiring 51% However, the bid became impossible when Neonex was able to get a further 10% of Maple Leaf shares for cash in a separate deal with Bruce Norris. Neonex had, by this time, a total of 53% of the shares of Maple Leaf Mills.
Jack Leitch then reluctantly made a deal with Neonex for his 13% interest in Maple Leaf in exchange for the 66% of Upper Lakes held by Neonex. Leitch previously had a 34% control of Upper Lakes and now has 100%, this being the important thing to ship lovers.
Upper Lakes retains Port Weller Drydocks Ltd. and two grain elevators at Goderich and Three Rivers. It also controls Collingwood Elevators Ltd. Neonex, through its new subsidiary, Maple Leaf Mills, owns elevators in Toronto and Sarnia as well as the flour mill and elevator at Port Colborne.
Reproduced for the Web with the permission of the Toronto Marine Historical Society.