May 8, 2012 / 12:22 PM / in 6 years

Ontario Teachers refuse to back some Magna directors

TORONTO (Reuters) - Ontario Teachers’ Pension Fund, which owns a stake in Canadian auto-parts manufacturer Magna International Inc, plans to vote against re-electing Magna’s controversial founder Frank Stronach as director of the company.

Magna, long criticized for its corporate governance, paid Stronach roughly $900 million in 2010 to cede control of the company he started. The buyout was approved by an independent committee that examined the deal, but there was no independent evaluation to determine if the deal was fair to minority shareholders.

The pension fund also said it plans to withhold votes for all directors who were on the board during the time of the transaction.

“We continue to believe that these directors failed to satisfactorily represent the interests of the corporation and all shareholders and as a result have lost confidence in their ability to act in the best long-term interests of the corporation,” said the pension fund on its website.

Last month, proxy advisory firm Glass Lewis & Co also advised shareholders to withhold their vote for Stronach, citing 2011 real estate deals where Magna sold properties at a loss to companies affiliated with Stronach and former Magna Co-Chief Executive Siegfried Wolf. Glass Lewis also noted that Stronach failed to attend 75 percent of Magna’s board meetings.

But rival advisory firm ISS Proxy Advisory Services recommended that shareholders vote for Stronach, whom it says had valid reasons for being absent from the meetings. The ISS report does not refer to the real estate deals.

Reporting By Euan Rocha

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