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Rubicon's biggest shareholder poised to take seat on the board

Thursday 1st December 2011 1 Comment

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Rubicon, the forestry based biotech company under siege from one of its cornerstone investors, is putting up its biggest shareholder and a new independent director for election to the board at this month’s annual meeting.

Shareholders will be asked to vote for the appointment of directors David Knott and George Karaplis and the reelection of Hugh Fletcher at its annual shareholders’ meeting on Dec. 16. Knott is the biggest shareholder in Rubicon with about 28 percent.

The move comes almost two months after Sandell Assest Management who owns a 14.4 percent stake in Rubicon said the company was “significantly undervalued” after the failure of the ArborGen float. Since then Sandell’s chief executive Thomas Sandell has been lobbying for Rubicon to add three more directors to its board, each of who would represent the company’s shareholders.

“We believe it is critical for the shareholders to have a voice at the board level, to insure that the board is focused on acting in the shareholders’ best interest,” he said in October.

Sandell Asset Management was lobbying for either a full sale of Rubicon or the sale of its controlling stake in Tenon.

Karaplis is also being offered for election to the board of Rubicon subsidiary, Tenon, which sells wood mouldings into the US.

Knott is currently chief executive of Knott Partners, and Karaplis is deputy chairman of Netia, a Polish communications company.

In July, Rubicon refinanced bank debt and extended its facility to US$20 million to help fund ArborGen. The tree seedling company, which is co-owned by Rubicon and partners International Paper and MeadWestvaco, was forced to abandon its initial public offering plans in May on fears it would not meet minimum support levels due to liquidity concerns.

At the time, ArborGen planned to raise between US$82 million and US$92 million by selling 5.1 million shares at US$16-to-US$18 apiece, according to a filing to the US Securities and Exchange Commission.

Rubicon’s shares were unchanged at 39 cents in trading today, and have shed two thirds this year.

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Comments from our readers

On 2 December 2011 at 10:53 am Long time shareholder said:
The directors had their chance, after promising a return of 18% return on investment (when company was first formed) and delivering a negative return on the original float price. Its time for them to be replaced.
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