Activist investor Casablanca Capital claims six of its nominees were elected to the board of Cliffs Natural Resources, sending the mining company’s shares sharply higher.
Cliffs Natural Resources (CLF) shares are up $1.25, or 7.5%, to $17.85.
Credit Suisse said last week that at Cliff’s annual meeting today, if Casablanca did win 6 out of 11 board seats, “Lourenco Goncalves will almost certainly replace Gary Halverson as CEO” and Halverson will receive a $10 million payout as a result. In a press release, Casablanca, which owns 5% of Cliffs Natural Resources shares, said it based its claim on preliminary estimates of the voting results by its proxy solicitor.
In a prepared statement, Goncalves declared the “conclusion of this proxy contest” and said the new slate would work with employees,
“to set Cliffs on a course to improve performance and restore shareholder value” … and steer it in a new strategic direction.”
Cliffs Natural Resources said in a statement released Tuesday afternoon that it would await a final count of today’s vote before saying more than this:
“The Board and management team remain deeply committed to continuing to create long-term value for all of our shareholders. We appreciate the support of the Cliffs shareholders who supported the company’s slate …”
Cliffs is losing money in the face of low commodity prices including iron ore; in the latest quarter, Cliffs’ loss was twice as bad as analysts expected.