CALGARY — Crescent Point Energy Corp. is doubling down in its battle with an activist investor, criticizing the company, its leader and even the ages of two of the four directors it has nominated for election at the annual general meeting next month.
A lengthy letter to shareholders asking them to reject the dissident slate repeats criticism Crescent Point levelled Monday of activist Cation Capital Inc.'s “unreasonable” bid to have four new directors elected, saying it will disrupt the oil and gas producer's five-year business plan.
Crescent Point says the nominees are unqualified or offer experience that isn't needed on the board and two nominees, Dallas Howe and Herbert Pinder, are close to the company's director retirement age of 75, which means they wouldn't be able to serve very long.
In a response letter, Cation says Crescent Point CEO Scott Saxberg is attacking its nominees and placing blame to divert attention from the company's “disastrous track record,” which includes a poor market valuation, high administration costs and executive pay and rising debt.
CIBC analyst Dave Popowich says in a report to investors that Cation's campaign “strains the limit of credibility” and is unlikely to succeed.
He says Cation's complaints about executive compensation at Crescent Point have been raised by shareholders in the past and added it has offered few details on how it would force change at the company to deliver more value to investors.
The two sides seem entrenched in their opposing positions.
“We welcome directors who will be a positive catalyst for shareholders, but these nominees will be a destructive force in the boardroom and on the share price,” said Crescent Point in its letter released late Thursday.
“Our view is simple: This broken company needs new leadership that is committed to restoring the market's confidence, significantly enhancing Crescent Point's share price and ensuring long-term sustainability,” countered Cation president Sandy Edmonstone in the response on Friday.
He and Thomas Budd are Cation's third and fourth nominees.
The company's annual meeting is set for May 4.
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