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Stephenson's to Explore Strategic Alternatives

MISSISSAUGA, Ontario — Stephenson's Rental Services last month announced that its board of trustees initiated a process to identify and evaluate strategic alternatives to maximize unitholder (shareholder) value. The strategic review process is being undertaken in response to the recent announcements by Canada's Department of Finance to impose a tax on income trusts, and the new challenges facing the income trust sector as a result. Canadian income trusts avoid most corporate taxes by making regular cash distributions to unitholders.

The board, which emphasized that the evaluation process won't necessarily result in any transaction, engaged Scotia Capital as its advisor in the process.

“Stephenson's has grown significantly since our IPO on July 28, 2005, completing and integrating the acquisition of our largest independent competitor during this time while maintaining our distributions of $1.10 per annum without interruption,” said president and CEO Willie Swisher. “However, in light of the recent announcements by the federal government, the board of trustees has concluded that it is in the best interest of unitholders to review all potential strategic and financial options.”

The company said it has plans to maximize unitholder value in the event of a hostile corporate takeover, although company officials said they are unaware of any potential takeover currently in the works.

Based in Mississauga, Ontario, Stephenson's has 19 branches in the greater Toronto area. The company is No. 48 on the RER 100.

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