Stillwater Mining Co. officials have announced opposition to a bid by the Clinton Group to elect new director nominees—including replacing the CEO—while citing lack of “superior skills or experience.”
The company says Clinton Group’s efforts may overturn effective company control to a minority shareholder that just recently acquired 1.3% of outstanding shares.
CEO Frank McAllister said Stillwater “is the strongest it has ever been—at a time when other companies are taking massive write-downs and face declining production.” Despite market volatility and previous management problems, he added, “we have invested prudently in growth, maintained balance sheet strength and built a dedicated workforce in Montana.”
Stillwater officials also reacted sharply to an Institutional Shareholder Services report advocating for the board changes. ISS, according to McAllister, “bought into the Clinton Group’s misleading and selective facts about Stillwater and its history, and ultimately produced a flawed recommendation. We urge shareholders to elect all Stillwater’s nominees who are committed to serving the best interests of all shareholders.”
In addition to a number of financial analysts, groups like the United Steelworkers backed this view. “There is no question about what is best for the success of the Stillwater Mining Co. in this upcoming proxy fight,” the union said in an April 7 letter to shareholders.
Stillwater Mining is the only U.S. producer of palladium and platinum, and the largest primary producer of platinum group metals outside South Africa and the Russian Federation.