Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Jana Lambastes Agrium for AGM Timing, Board Choices in Shareholder Letter

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Jana Lambastes Agrium for AGM Timing, Board Choices in Shareholder Letter

Article excerpt

Jana lambastes Agrium on AGM timing

--

CALGARY - New York activist hedge fund Jana Partners LLC is lambasting Agrium Inc. for scheduling its annual shareholder meeting a month earlier than usual.

The fertilizer giant normally holds the event at its suburban Calgary headquarters in early to mid-May, but announced last Friday it would take place on April 9 this year.

In an open letter to Agrium (TSX:AGU) shareholders on Wednesday, Jana says the timing of the meeting appears to be "an attempt to cut short" a debate over the company's strategy.

"While we are confident that this move is too little, too late, it further paints a picture of serious governance issues at Agrium," Jana said in the missive.

In a release, Agrium board chair Victor Zaleschuk said Jana has been running its campaign for more than eight months.

"We are holding our annual general meeting a month earlier than usual to bring this matter to a close. We remain confident that we have overwhelming shareholder support," he said.

"Agrium's board has given Jana's ideas due and thorough consideration and we have rejected them. Jana's analysis is flawed, and its ideas would destroy shareholder value."

Jana has invested more than US$1 billion in Agrium, making it the company's largest shareholder with a 6.5 per cent stake.

Agrium is set to announce its fourth-quarter and 2012 earnings on Friday.

Jana wants Agrium to better control costs, more effectively manage capital and seriously consider breaking off its retail segment, in which it sells fertilizers, seeds and other products to farmers, from the wholesale part of the business.

The fund wants to appoint five directors to Agrium's board. Its slate includes Jana managing partner Barry Rosenstein, former Liberal agriculture minister Lyle Vanclief and three men with the executive experience in distribution that the fund says is lacking on Agrium's board.

Last week, Agrium put forward two of its own candidates, former Viterra Inc. CEO Mayo Schmidt and former Deere & Co. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.