Activist investor Jana Partners reduces Agrium stake, pleased with changes
Oct 11, 2013 / 8:02 am
CALGARY - Jana Partners, the New York activist hedge fund that waged a proxy fight against Agrium Inc. (TSX:AGU), said Thursday it has reduced its stake in the fertilizer giant.
Still, the fund will remain among Agrium's biggest shareholders with a 2.7 per cent stake, down from its previous 7.6 per cent position.
Jana said in a filing to U.S. regulators that the decision was made "in the course of managing its overall portfolio."
During the bitter boardroom battle, which began in the spring of 2012 and ended in April of this year, Jana pushed for several changes at Agrium. The proposal that garnered the most attention was to look at splitting up Agrium's retail and wholesale businesses.
Jana also wanted Agrium to improve capital allocation, costs, disclosure in its retail business and corporate governance.
"While (Jana) continues to believe there are opportunities for substantial improvement in each of these areas, it is pleased by (Agrium's) progress in many of them since (Jana's) initial engagement with (Agrium)," Jana said in the filing.
For instance, Agrium has returned more cash to shareholders in the form of increased dividends and share buybacks. It has also started disclosing more financial information about its retail segment and factoring that performance into management's compensation, Jana said.
Last week, Agrium announced CEO Mike Wilson will be retiring in the new year, to be replaced by current chief operating officer Chuck Magro. Jana said it expects those changes, combined with several scheduled board retirements, should improve Agrium's "openness and responsiveness to proposals for value creating change."
Jana says it still believes Agrium should at least conduct an unbiased review of splitting up its retail and wholesale segments, but says a newly increased dividend should help investors better appreciate the steady retail cash flow.
Read more Business News
|QHR Technologies Inc||1.28||+0.09|
|Anavex Life Sciences||0.38||0.00|
|Copper Mountain Mining||1.54||-0.01|
Recently I recorded a video series for my keynote speaking business. It was called from Faith to Future. In one of the episodes, I talked about the concept of using hard work to get out of a difficul...
The bank manager just phoned and asked for full and immediate repayment of the line of credit because the latest, (and they were late!), financial statements showed continuing losses and falling sales...
Opportunities to Be Aware of This Year As the 2013 year is coming to an end, individuals should be mindful of year-end tax planning opportunities that will need to be implemented prior to December 31s...
- Precision Drilling shares plummet as Alberta fund manager sells stake
- Most actively traded companies on the TSX, TSX Venture Exchange markets
- CIBC logs $836M profit in Q4, cautiously optimistic about next year
- Auto insurers urge holiday season refresher as young drivers return home
- Canadian Press NewsAlert: Canada creates 21,600 jobs, Nov. jobless rate 6.9%
- New CEO will help prepare Royal Bank for future, as divisions feel the pressure
- TD Bank Q4 profit rises to $1.62 billion, adjusted earnings up but miss estimate
- TSX drops 105 points amid mixed earnings from RBC, TD and CIBC, Fed concerns
- Loonie advances, traders look to Canadian, U.S. jobs data being released Friday
- Detroit bankruptcy judge follows up major bench ruling with written opinion, urges compromise
- Barrick Gold critic says Munk's departure will be a positive but concerns remain
- Canada's agriculture minister says time running short on reaching new WTO deal