TORONTO, April 15 (Reuters) - Coal miner Walter Energy Inc said on Monday that well-known proxy advisory firm Institutional Shareholder Services Inc had advised its shareholders back to its slate of board nominees over those put forward by activist investor Audley Capital.
The endorsement is a major boost for Walter, which has been locked in a battle with the British hedge fund for two months. Audley is trying to replace half of Walter’s board at the company’s April 25 annual meeting.
Last week, rival advisory firm Glass Lewis also advised Walter’s shareholders to back the company’s board nominees.
Audley has criticized the company for churning through chief executive officers and taking on too much debt at punishing interest rates. Walter has called the fund’s campaign a “hit and run” designed to turn a quick profit.
Audley controls less than 1 percent of Walter, which produces metallurgical coal used by steelmakers, as well as some thermal coal, in Canada, the United States and the UK.