February 25, 2013 / 5:50 PM / 5 years ago

UPDATE 1-Relational wants SPX to consider strategic alternatives

BOSTON, Feb 25 (Reuters) - Diversified U.S. manufacturer SPX Corp should consider strategic alternatives to boost its stock price, investment firm Relational Investors said in a filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission on Monday.

“The company should explore strategic alternatives for better achieving the long-term intrinsic value of the assets,” the investment firm said in a filing. Relational disclosed an 8.8 percent stake in the maker of equipment used in food and beverage production, which would make it SPX’s largest shareholder, according to Reuters data.

“Total shareholder returns and profitability have lagged peers’ due primarily to excessive prices paid for acquisitions. This growth-at-any-cost strategy destroys shareholder value by overly emphasizing revenue growth over investment returns,” Relational said in a filing, adding that the company should avoid future acquisitions unless they provide a better return to shareholders.

SPX last year attempted to buy Gardner Denver Inc, but talks unraveled in December, sources said at the time.

An SPX spokeswoman declined to comment on Monday.

The investment firm, run by Ralph Whitworth, said it could in the future seek a seat on Charlotte, North Carolina-based SPX’s boards if its concerns are not addressed.

SPX shares rose 2.5 percent to $82.19 in midday trading on the New York Stock Exchange.

Over the past 12 months, SPX shares had rise about 6.5 percent, trailing the 11.6 percent rise of the broad Standard & Poor’s 500 index.

Relational last year took a large stake in U.S. manufacturer Timken Co, which it has called on to split up into two publicly traded companies.

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