UpdateCanada Agrium continues to rebuff hedge fund on break-up

16 August 2012 00:07  [Source: ICIS news]

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HOUSTON (ICIS)--Canada’s Agrium on Wednesday reiterated it has no desire to spin off its retail business following its meeting with US hedge fund JANA Partners.

“At the meeting, Agrium made clear to JANA that the board carefully considered JANA's position that Agrium should spin off its retail operations,” Agrium said in a press release. “The board unanimously determined that a spin-off would not be in the best interests of the company or its shareholders.”

JANA, a major shareholder in Agrium, has been pushing the idea of breaking up the Canadian fertilizer major into separate wholesale and retail businesses.

Agrium investor relations vice president Richard Downey earlier told ICIS that the company continues to firmly rule out suggestions that the company be split up.

Downey said that Agrium CEO Mike Wilson would be in New York this week to meet with JANA. The meeting had been scheduled three weeks ago and Wilson would be in the city for other meetings.

Downey also rejected claims by JANA that Agrium’s management lacked experience in managing its retail business.

In a statement, JANA said that Agrium’s conglomerate structure is preventing the company “from recognising its true value potential over a long-term period.” A stand-alone Agrium retail business would “unlock significant long-term value” for Agrium shareholders, it said.

Additional reporting by Stefan Baumgarten

By: Brian Ford
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