Investment Fund Pressures Agrium to Cut Costs, Split Business

JANA Partners LLC, an investment group holding just over 6% of Agrium’s shares, is rallying Agrium’s other stockholders in an effort to put serious pressure on the company to change the way it operates. In an interesting turn, Jana has devoted an entire website to its cause — see it here — and has gone public saying that the company is building a critical mass of support among shareholders.

JANA is calling out Agrium over several areas of its business where it feels Agrium needs to improve. Among the critiques are what JANA is calling the 5Cs — costs, controls, capital allocation, conglomerate structure and corporate governance. JANA has nominated 5 people to sit on Agrium’s 11-member board, noting that one of those people are a member of the JANA firm.

The investment firm is calling on Agrium to appoint these five members to the board and proposes a business split of the company — a fertilizer production arm and a fertilizer retail arm.

Agrium holds its annual general meeting in May.

For more on JANA’s plans, visit the website geared towards other shareholders here.

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