Over the Line Time line:
Feb. 20: Menu foods starts getting reports of toxicity
Feb. 26. Menu Foods CFO sells 22% of his Menu stock
Feb. 27: Menu starts testing program with some fifty animals; Menu CFU sells another 22% of his Menu stock
March 6: Menu cancels gluten contract with Chinese firm.
March 16: recall announced; stock plummets
The chief financial officer of Menu Foods Income Fund says it’s a “horrible coincidence” that he sold nearly half his units in the troubled pet food maker less than three weeks before a massive recall of tainted pet food.
Insider trading reports show that Mark Wiens sold 14,000 units for $102,900 on Feb. 26 and Feb. 27. Those shares would be worth $62,440 today, based on yesterday’s close of $4.46 a unit.
That represented 45 per cent of Mr. Wiens’s units. After the sale, he still owned 17,193 units and options to purchase 101,812 units, according to insider trading reports.
“It’s a horrible coincidence, yes . . .” Mr. Wiens said yesterday.
Mr. Wiens said the first reports of illnesses and deaths related to Menu Foods products came in to the company’s toll-free customer relations line in late February.
But he said he did not hear of any possible problem with the company’s products until early March.
On March 16, the Streetsville, Ont., pet food maker recalled 60 million containers of cat and dog food.