ACFN HOLDING CORPORATION EMPIRE INDUSTRIES LTD. AND ATHABASCA CHIPEWYAN FIRST NATION ANNOUNCE LETTER OF INTENT TO FORM A PARTNERSHIP IN THE FORT MCMURRAY REGION Fort McMurray, Alberta, July 21, 2008 – The Athabasca Chipewyan First Nation Holding Corporation (“ACFN”) and Empire Industries Ltd. (TSX-V: EIL) (“Empire”) jointly announced that they have signed a letter of intent to become partners in the ownership of Sorge’s Welding Ltd. (“Sorge’s Welding”). The new partnership is being created as a result of ACFN purchasing the controlling ownership of Sorge’s Welding from Janet Sorge. Empire will retain its 49% minority interest in Sorge’s Welding, which it purchased December 31, 2006. Building on its extensive business interests in north eastern Alberta, ACFN made a strategic decision to broaden its business activities to include steel fabrication, piping, field construction and maintenance services for the burgeoning oil sands market in north eastern Alberta and they have chosen to do this in partnership with Empire Industries as co-owners of Sorge’s Welding. The new partnership is scheduled to close in August. "ACFN wants to help Sorge’s Welding succeed in performing a reasonable amount of the estimated four million man-hours of outsourced welding and maintenance services in the region,” stated Chief Allan Adam. “We also want Sorge’s Welding to aggressively pursue the steel fabrication and installation services portion of the more than $100 billion of oil sands capital projects as a local, aboriginal controlled contractor. We see this investment as one of the best ways to have our First Nation Band’s youth have a clear path towards new challenging careers in the skilled trades, construction and maintenance management and even engineering.” Janet Sorge stated, “Richard and I have built an excellent Aboriginal controlled company over the past 20 years but we both knew we had to ensure that what we built could continue to grow and capitalize on the tremendous construction and maintenance opportunities in the Fort McMurray region of Alberta. Having my First Nation Band buy our controlling interest in Sorge’s Welding was the best way to accomplish this goal.” Richard Sorge added: “I am fully committed to staying on as CEO of Sorge’s Welding to ensure a smooth transition of ownership and help the company take its place as a leader amongst Aboriginal controlled businesses in the Ft. McMurray region. This is not my retirement announcement. Rather, it is a move that demonstrates our personal commitment to increasing the benefits to the Aboriginal community arising from the massive, oil sands development plans as well as expanding the effectiveness of our company’s strong apprenticeship programs we’ve put in place over the years.” Guy Nelson, CEO of Empire Industries Ltd., commented: “This innovative partnership has been created specifically to allow the oil sands industry to avail themselves of a globally competitive, Aboriginal controlled partnership focused on steel fabrication, construction and maintenance services. With Empire’s numerous plants in Alberta, Manitoba and B.C., we are well positioned to support the Sorge’s Welding field construction and maintenance services team, creating even more opportunities for us to employ both skilled and apprentice trades people from the First Nations in the Ft. McMurray area and across the country.” About Sorge’s Welding Ltd. Sorge's Welding Ltd. was founded in 1989 as an Aboriginal controlled, certified steel fabricator and field installation contractor based in the Fort McMurray region of North Eastern Alberta. Empire Industries Ltd. became a minority partner of Sorge’s Welding Ltd. at the end of 2006. The partnership brings expanded capabilities and depth of product and capacity to Sorge’s Welding Ltd. Business operational principles for all work performed by Sorge’s Welding are; safety, reliability, quality and unparalleled service. ACFN HOLDING CORPORATION About Athabasca Chipewyan First Nation. The ACFN reserve lands are located on the southwest shore of Lake Athabasca. The First Nation offices are located in Ft. Chipewyan, Alberta approximately 200 aerial miles from Ft. McMurray, Alberta. Ft. Chipewyan is Alberta’s oldest continuous European settlement dating back to 1788 when the North West Company established an outpost there. The ACFN Holding Corporation owns controlling interests in a number of businesses including; Denesoline Environment, Tech Sonic Services, Chip Manufacturing, Dene West and Poplar Point Camp Services, and AC&T Civil Contractors . About Empire Industries Ltd. Empire Industries Ltd. is a leading, Western Canadian steel fabricator and engineered products manufacturer. Empire’s mission is to increase shareholder value by adding value to steel through a combination of organic growth and strategic acquisitions. Since becoming a public entity, Empire has expanded its fabrication space to more than 400,000 square feet and grown its workforce to more than 800 skilled tradespersons and technical personnel. The Company owns several steel fabrication shops and manufacturing facilities, each with longstanding track records of success, and is uniquely positioned to capitalize on the burgeoning infrastructure, commercial and industrial construction marketplace of Western Canada. Empire’s common shares are listed on the TSX Venture Exchange under the symbol EIL. For more information, please visit Empire’s web-site at: www.empind.com or the Sorge’s Welding website at www.sorgeswelding.com or contact: Guy Nelson Graeme Ramsay Richard Sorge Chairman & CEO CEO CEO Empire Industries Ltd. ACFN Business Group Sorge’s Welding Ltd. Phone: (416) 366-7977 Phone: (780) 598-4567 Phone: (780) 743-9739 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Email: email@example.com Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Forward-looking statements This press release contains forward-looking statements, within the meaning of applicable securities legislation, concerning Empire’s business and affairs. In certain cases, forward-looking statements can be identified by the use of words such as ‘‘plans’’, ‘‘expects’’ or ‘‘does not expect’’, ‘‘budget’’, ‘‘scheduled’’, ‘‘estimates’’, “forecasts’’, ‘‘intends’’, ‘‘anticipates’’ or variations of such words and phrases or state that certain actions, events or results ‘‘may’’, ‘‘could’’, ‘‘would’’, ‘‘might’’ or ‘‘will be taken’’, ‘‘occur’’ or ‘‘be achieved’’. These forward looking statements are based on current expectations, and are naturally subject to uncertainty and changes in circumstances that may cause actual results to differ materially. Readers are cautioned not to place undue reliance on such forward- looking statements. Forward-looking information is provided as of the date of this press release, and Empire assumes no obligation to update or revise them to reflect new events or circumstances, except as may be required under applicable securities laws. In the current press release, there is the additional risk that the letter of intent does not consummate as a transaction. The TSX Venture Exchange does not accept responsibility for the adequacy or accuracy of this release.
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