EDMONTON, AB, Nov. 1, 2011 /CNW/ - Alberta Investment Management Corp.
("AIMCo") announces today that it will not accept the vague plans for
board renewal announced by Viterra Inc. ("Viterra" or the "Company") on
October 28, 2011. AIMCo does not believe that the current Viterra
directors are prepared to effect meaningful changes to the composition
of the board. We believe that strong leadership is necessary to
maintain and improve the quality of our investment. We believe that the
process announced by Viterra will result in further entrenchment of an
unresponsive and unaligned board that may limit the Company's long-term
AIMCo, on behalf of its client funds, holds over 17 per cent of
Viterra's shares. AIMCo has been Viterra's single largest shareholder
since 2009. We have been dissatisfied with Viterra's performance and
have identified several governance changes that we believe are critical
to Viterra's long-term success. Among these concerns, AIMCo does not
believe that the current Viterra board has the required skills or
experience to meet the Company's leadership needs as a growing
AIMCo has expressed its concerns to the Company, its Board of Directors,
and its Chairman consistently and repeatedly over the last eighteen
months. AIMCo's concerns with the current Viterra board are heightened
by its lack of responsiveness to AIMCo's reasonable concerns. The
Viterra board continues to insist that it must deal with these
important governance issues behind closed doors, thereby limiting
meaningful shareholder consultation. Furthermore, the board insists
that the renewal process be managed by the same directors who have been
consistently unresponsive to legitimate shareholder concerns.
The board's refusal to engage in meaningful discussions with AIMCo led
us to advise the board several weeks ago that we would requisition a
shareholder meeting to make changes to the board if Viterra did not
take action on board renewal. At the same time, AIMCo endeavored to
continue to constructively work with the board for the benefit of all
stakeholders. In response, Viterra issued its October 28 press release
announcing the date of its next annual shareholder meeting. This
release introduces yet more processes that, in AIMCo's view, will delay
substantive change and continue to deny shareholders any meaningful
input. Viterra issued this press release without advising AIMCo.
Additionally, the Company has still not indicated any intention to take
AIMCo's governance views into account beyond simply inviting input.
AIMCo believes that Viterra and its board need a strong message from
shareholders that further platitudes about seeking shareholder input
and closed door processes are not satisfactory. The only acceptable
course of action would be for Viterra to work collaboratively with
AIMCo in a meaningful way to identify appropriate directors for
nomination at the upcoming meeting of shareholders. AIMCo is a proven
long-term investor that strongly believes in the benefits of corporate
governance and has a solid reputation as a trusted partner that works
with companies to build successful businesses. AIMCo remains committed
to Viterra's long-term success.
AIMCo is one of Canada's largest and most diversified institutional
investment managers. AIMCo was established on January 1, 2008 with a
mandate to provide superior long-term investment results for its
clients. AIMCo operates independently from the Government of Alberta
and invests globally on behalf of 26 pension, endowment and government
funds in the Province of Alberta, including the Alberta Heritage
Savings Trust Fund. For more information about AIMCo, visit www.aimco.alberta.ca.
SOURCE Alberta Investment Management Corporation (AIMCO)
For further information:
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