TORONTO, March 26 Influential advisory firm
Glass Lewis advised its clients on Tuesday to back all 12 of
Agrium Inc's board nominees, rejecting a
five-member slate put forward by dissident investor Jana
The endorsement from the well-regarded proxy advisory firm
is a boost for Agrium ahead of a shareholder vote on April 9 and
follows similar recommendations from smaller firms like
U.S.-based Egan-Jones and UK-based Pensions Investment Research
"We are pleased that Glass Lewis has recommended that its
subscribers support Agrium's slate of director nominees," said
Agrium's chairman, Victor Zaleschuk, in a statement.
New York-based Jana, Agrium's largest shareholder with a 7.5
percent stake, has been agitating for change at Agrium for
months, demanding a number of things like a split between its
wholesale fertilizer production arm and its retail business,
which sells seeds, crop protection chemicals, fertilizers and
other farm products.
While Jana has argued that Agrium's retail business is
undervalued within the combined entity, Agrium maintains that
its retail arm acts as a buffer for the company because its
wholesale business is typically cyclical in nature.
Agrium shareholders have already begun voting, but some big
investors are still awaiting a recommendation from influential
shareholder advisory services firm ISS, which has yet to weigh
in on the proxy battle.