Canadian fund BCIMC ups the heat on Bombardier ahead of AGM

Thu Apr 28, 2016 9:51am EDT
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By Euan Rocha

TORONTO, April 28 (Reuters) - British Columbia's main public sector pension fund BCIMC said on Thursday it plans to support a push for greater transparency at Bombardier Inc and that it is withholding support from all five of the Bombardier-Beaudoin family members that sit on the company's board.

The founding family, which own a controlling stake in the company, are opposed to a shareholder proposal that would force the force Bombardier to separately disclose voting results on all resolutions by class of shares.

The proposal has been backed by leading proxy advisory firms and other Canadian pension funds including, Canada Pension Plan Investment Board and Ontario Teachers' Pension Plan (OTPP).

BCIMC, one of Bombardier's top 15 shareholders with some 6.7 million shares in the embattled plane and train maker, said as the board's overall independence is low it is voting against all non-independent directors on the ballot, except the company's Chief Executive Alain Bellemare.

The pension fund pressure is unlikely to impact the outcome of any vote at Bombardier's annual meeting on Friday, given the founding family's 53.23 percent voting stake.

The moves by the influential funds however, could be a bit of an embarrassment for the company, which earlier on Thursday, reported a major order from Delta Air Lines Inc for its CSeries jets, overshadowing a wider-than-expected first-quarter loss for the Quebec-based company.

BCIMC also said that it plans to vote against Bombardier's proposal to increase the number of Class A and Classs B shares it can issue, stating "does not adhere to the "one-share, one-vote" principle."

Bombardier's Class A shares entitle shareholders to 10 votes per share, while its Class B shares carry 1 vote per share. The company's dual class share structure has faced criticism in the past. The family owns a majority voting stake largely through the 79.5 percent of Class A multiple voting shares they control.   Continued...