Fisher Funds to Reluctantly Vote for Merger Prop.
8 May 2006
Fisher Funds to Reluctantly Vote for Merger Proposal
Fisher Funds has a non-beneficial interest in 6.6m Waste Management shares, representing approximately 6.6% of the company.
After much contemplation, Fisher Funds advises that we will be reluctantly voting to approve the proposed amalgamation between Waste Management (WAM) and Transpacific Industries (TPI).
Since the proposal was announced, we have held a number of meetings with Directors and management of both WAM and TPI to discuss the proposed amalgamation. Fisher Funds remains perplexed and disappointed at the behaviour of the Waste Management Board over this period. A number of their decisions highlight our concerns:
1. WAM pulling out of Cleanaway bid process - as part of the amalgamation proposal the WAM Board agreed not to pursue the acquisition of Australian solid waste company, Cleanaway. Previously the opportunity of acquiring Cleanaway had been a key plank in WAM's Australian growth strategy.
2. WAM executives working on TPI's Cleanaway bid - in addition to pulling out of the Cleanaway bid process WAM took the extraordinary step of consulting to TPI, a competitor, in preparing its bid for Cleanaway.
3. Public comments - despite the amalgamation proposal being just that, a proposal yet to be approved, the company has made a number of negative comments in the media about the long term viability of the business. We believe that this is inappropriate behaviour from a major listed company.
Fisher Funds does not invest in companies where we do not fully support the Board and the key executives. We have carefully considered the operational and financial ramifications of the proposed merger not proceeding and are aware of the possible changes in the competitive landscape in NZ and Australian waste industries.
We believe the Board of WAM has effectively sidelined the company from its Australian expansion potential and we have concluded that the long term growth outlook for WAM has been compromised to the extent that we have no choice but to reluctantly approve the amalgamation proposal.