/NOT FOR DISTRIBUTION TO UNITED STATES NEWSWIRE SERVICES OR FOR
DISSEMINATION IN THE UNITED STATES/
MONTREAL, March 18, 2013 /CNW Telbec/ - Letko, Brosseau & Associates
Inc. holds, on behalf of its clients, 2.3 million shares of Agrium, or
1.5% of the outstanding stock. After careful consideration of the
arguments and proposal put forth by JANA Partners LLC and a review of
the record of Agrium over many years in terms of governance, business
strategy and execution, we have decided to vote all our shares in
favour of the board nominees proposed by Agrium.
The impact of Jana's proposals on the value of Agrium are, in our view,
highly speculative. We find JANA's choice of periods to measure share
price performance misleading as it ignores the improved stock markets
since June 2012. While we recognize their commitment to the company in
their 7.5% shareholding, their proposal to control over 40% of the
board seats in unreasonable. Their business plan is so different from
the one being pursued by management that we are concerned that any JANA
board representation would be disruptive to Agrium's business. For
these reasons, we have decided not to vote for any of their nominees.
Letko Brosseau has been a shareholder of Agrium almost consistently for
over approximately 20 years. The company has proven to be an
outstanding performer in the portfolios we manage. Since the year 2000
revenues have increased by a multiple of 8.9 to $16.7 billion. Net
income has grown from $82 million to $1.5 billion, an 18 fold increase.
Earnings per share over the same period have increased from $0.62 per
share to $9.55 per share and the stock price has risen from $11.20 at
the beginning of January 2000 to its current level of $103. The
compounded annual return including dividends is 18.2% or more than
three times that of the TSX.
This record of growth has been achieved in an industry known for its
cyclicality. Over this period the management has pursued a strategy of
diversifying the company from its Canadian base to an international
business. It has integrated forward into the distribution chain while
continuing to grow its manufacturing capabilities. We believe this
strategy has been sound and is worth continuing as proposed by Agrium
management. In our view Agrium has been superbly managed over many
years by a most thoughtful and capable team. In addition we welcome
the proposed new directors David Everitt and Mayo Schmidt given their
rich experience in the agricultural supply and services industry.
This is not a solicitation of authority to vote your proxy. Letko
Brosseau is only informing other Agrium securityholders of how Letko
Brosseau intends to vote and the reasons for that decision. Letko
Brosseau is not seeking the power to act as a proxyholder for any
securityholder of Agrium and nothing in this press release should be
regarded as a solicitation or a request for a proxy.
About Letko Brosseau
Letko, Brosseau & Associates Inc. is an investment manager based in
Montreal founded in 1987. It manages portfolios for pension plans,
insurance companies, charitable foundations and individuals. Assets
under management are approximately $24 billion.
SOURCE: Letko Brosseau
For further information:
(514) 499-1200, ext: 111