St. Lawrence buyout bid gains more opposition

St. Lawrence buyout bid gains more opposition
Published: 27 June 2007

Montreal investment manager Jarislowsky Fraser Ltd. has recruited more minority shareholders of St Lawrence Cement Group Inc to try to block the buyout of the company by its controlling shareholder Holcim Ltd. 
Earlier this month Jarislowsky Fraser, run by outspoken investor advocate Stephen Jarislowsky, put out a statement saying Holcim’s $40.25 a share buyback offer undervalued the company. Now several others have joined Mr. Jarislowsky and written to Holcim saying they will accept nothing less than $46 per share.
The group holds almost 57 per cent of St. Lawrence Cement’s class A shares, so they have enough stock to block the deal, which requires a majority of the minority holders of each class to vote in favour. 
The dissident group includes Canadian money managers Gluskin Sheff + Associates Inc. and JC Clark Ltd., along with mutual fund company CI Investments Inc., and U.S. firms Sandell Asset Management Corp., Carlson Capital LP and Brookline Avenue Partners. 
Colin Stewart, portfolio manager at JC Clark, said yesterday that Holcim has acknowledged they received the letter, but there has been no substantive response yet. “We’re not pleased with the offer and certainly won’t tender our shares,” he said. 
Holcim, which owns about 63 per cent of the Montreal cement company’s equity and 79 per cent of the votes, first offered $36.50 to shareholders in February. It boosted its offer to $40.25 in mid-May.