Forbes fights firm

SITTING board members and management at Forbes Coal have pushed back at a group of shareholders who have recently moved for an overhaul of the miner’s leadership.
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Image courtesy of Forbes Coal

Justin Niessner

In a strongly worded statement from the Toronto-based company, top officials said they were concerned about two board nominees put forward by a group of “dissidents” led by equity firm Resource Capital Funds.

The “majority of the current board of directors and management” at Forbes said the alternate nominees had no experience serving on public company boards in Canada and had little Canadian corporate governance experience.

“I fully support the current board, management and our plan to move Forbes Coal forward,” Forbes president and chief executive Stephan Theron said.

“I have serious concerns about the way the dissidents, led by RCF, have gone about proposing changes to the board.”

Forbes contended that Ryan Bennett, the director representing RCF, not yet objected to any decision taken by the board and has indicated his full support for the company’s current strategy.

While the dissident shareholders have called for an independent board to reduce the influence of any one shareholder, Forbes countered that the group’s alternate board nominees would be in effect be influenced solely by RCF.

“We are proud of what Forbes Coal has achieved since taking a majority stake in the Magdalena and Aviemore mines in South Africa in 2010,” Theron said

“We have improved their performance by almost every measure, and have met all our key operational and financial targets.

“Regrettably, the dissidents are now threatening to disrupt this progress.”

Forbes shareholders are due to elect directors for the coming year at the annual meeting on September 17.

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