Hedge fund pushes for board shake-up at Canada’s Agrium

19 November 2012 13:32  [Source: ICIS news]

LONDON (ICIS)--US hedge fund JANA Partners announced on Monday that it intends to propose five new candidates for Agrium’s 11-strong board of directors, claiming the appointments will help to “combat share price underperformance”.

Following Agrium’s rebuff of JANA Partners' proposal that that company be broken up into separate retail and wholesale businesses, the bid for a board shake-up is the latest attempt by the hedge fund shareholder to restructure the business, which it claims is undervalued.

JANA Partners is Agrium’s single largest shareholder, with a stake of over 6% in the dual Canada and US-listed company, according to the firm.  

“JANA believes that these individuals will add critical oversight to a board that for years has tolerated suboptimal capital allocation, failure to manage costs, structural issues, lack of transparency, and share price underperformance relative to a weighted average of Agrium's peers and to its potential,” the firm said in a statement.

JANA’s candidates for the board include former Canadian agricultural minister Lyle Vanclief; David Bullock, CFO for Graham Packaging between 2009 and 2011; former Brenntag CEO Stephen Clark, former MSC Industrial CEO Mitchell Jacobson; and Barry Rosenstein, founder and managing partner of JANA Partners.

Many of the candidates were selected for their experience in the retail sector, the company said.

Agrium’s board had unanimously rejected JANA Partners’ earlier attempt to split up the business, on the grounds that it “would not be in the best interests of the company or its shareholders”.

Agrium's board has had every opportunity to respond constructively to our analysis, and instead simply attempted to avoid the issues," said Rosenstein.

By: Tom Brown
+44 208 652 3214

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