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Syngenta Hits Back at Shareholder Group Over Anonymous Survey

Syngenta is going on the offensive in response to an anonymous survey conducted by a shareholder group. The group claims the majority of those surveyed feel the company has poor corporate governance practices and should be sold.
“Having met with shareholders representing over 45 percent of its share capital over recent weeks, Syngenta already has a clear understanding of its shareholders’ views and is taking those views into account as it works relentlessly to evaluate its long term strategic opportunities,” Syngenta says in the statement.
Syngenta goes on to note that it met “in good faith” with representatives of the Alliance of Critical Syngenta Shareholders, which says it conducted the survey of shareholders between  Dec. 7 and Dec. 15, to discuss the group’s views and give constructive feedback.
“Despite having had the opportunity to represent their views to Syngenta’s board and management, the Alliance has proceeded with this anonymous shareholder survey. Such an initiative is not in keeping with the constructive tone of relationship which should exist between a company and its shareholders,” Syngenta says.
“Moreover, the survey has been conducted on the false assumption that the chairman and the board are not working to meet shareholder expectations, and risks undermining actions that are already underway. The entire focus of these actions is the creation of value for our shareholders, to which the chairman and board are fully committed.”
According to the Alliance of Critical Syngenta Shareholders, the results of the survey reflect a sample size of 112 total participants, including Alliance members, major active institutional investors, among them four of the Top 10 shareholders, and sell-side analysts. The sample represents approximately 20 percent of shares held by institutional investors and approximately 10 percent of total shares outstanding, according to the group.
“Syngenta’s strategic direction is deeply flawed according to the findings of the survey, with 89 percent of survey respondents agreeing that the company’s integrated strategy has failed,” the group says in a statement. “Shareholders are also aligned that Syngenta should quickly review its strategic options, including a sale of the company, with 88 percent of survey respondents strongly supporting this view. Seventy-nine percent are supportive of a formal auction process to sell Syngenta.”