After a month of battles between Stillwater Mining Company and a hedge fund, shareholders of the company settled the battle during a shareholders meeting Thursday.
The meeting, held at Stillwater Mine near the town of Nye, came amidst a takeover attempt by the Clinton Group. In March, the hedge fund, along with former Montana Governor Brian Schweitzer, filed a formal notice with Federal regulators to replace the then-current Board of Directors with their own nominees, which included Schweitzer.
According to press releases by Stillwater Mine, the Clinton Group owns 1.3% of Stillwater Mine stocks.
Between the filing and the shareholders meeting Thursday, Stillwater Mine has criticized the Clinton Group as offering no new strategy for the company, and showed no understanding of the company's business.
The shareholders meeting on Thursday occurred smoothly, with no high dramas or heated exchanges. The meeting took approximately half an hour to complete. Soon after the meeting, the company released a preliminary result of the Board of Directors election. The new board will consist of four members of the old board, and four members from the Clinton Group, which includes former Governor Schweitzer, as well as the old CEO of Stillwater Mine, Charles Engles.
Four directors, namely Craig L. Fuller, Patrick M. James, Steven S. Lucas, and Sheryl K. Pressler, were not returned to the board.
"This is a huge victory. A very few of these proxy battles end with the dissidents getting half of the Board of Directors." said Schweitzer. "We bring a diverse group of skills. People from all over the world."
"The shareholders want some change, and quite frankly, that's what we'll go with, that's what we'll work with." said Board Chairman Francis McAllister. He went on to say that he will work hard to bring the new board members up to speed on the company.
"What we'll do is make sure that everybody understands where we are, and what the opportunities are, going forward." said McAllister.'
Former Governor Schweitzer, however, said he will work hard as a board member to keep company investments inside Montana, and at the mine near Nye.
"Stillwater mine is a pure Platinum and Palladium mine in Montana. This ore body will last a hundred years if we take care of it. If we mine it properly. That's three more generations of miners and jobs, right here in Montana." said Schweitzer.
One of the disagreements that led to the takeover battle was over Stillwater Mine's investments in foreign projects, including a project in the South American country of Argentina.
McAllister, however, said both sides have vowed to work together, for the good of the company.
"Welcome. We're delighted to work with you. We look forward to working with you, going forward." said McAllister.
Official, certified results, according to company officials, should be released in a few weeks.