January 10, 2014 / 7:23 PM / 5 years ago

Sherritt sets meeting to vote on activist's board nominees

TORONTO (Reuters) - Canada’s Sherritt International Corp (S.TO) will hold a special meeting of shareholders on May 6 to vote on an activist investor’s slate of board nominees, the company said on Friday.

The nickel, oil and gas producer said the meeting was requisitioned by shareholders affiliated with George Armoyan, including Clarke Inc (CKI.TO), which together beneficially own some 5 percent of its shares.

Armoyan is the chief executive of Clarke, a Halifax-based investment holding company listed on the Toronto Stock Exchange.

The dissident investors want to remove four of Sherritt’s independent directors and elect Armoyan and two employees of companies he controls - Dustin Haw and Michael Rapps - to the board, Sherritt said.

They also want to eliminate some payments made to Sherritt’s directors to compensate them for the impact of the Helms-Burton Act.

Sherritt has operations in Cuba, and some of its officers and directors have been barred from the United States under Helms-Burton, which sanctions companies that trade with Cuba.

The activists argue that Sherritt’s directors should only receive the extra payments if they are actually barred from the United States, the company said.

Regulatory filings say the payments are “in recognition of the actual or potential hardship, loss of opportunity and emotional distress” caused by Helms-Burton.

The special meeting will be held together with Sherritt’s normal annual meeting.

Sherritt, which also has operations in Madagascar, said in December it had agreed to sell its coal business and would focus on its nickel and oil assets.

Reporting by Allison Martell; Editing by Stephen Powell; and Peter Galloway

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