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August 17, 2006

US: Heinz claims victory in proxy battle

A representative of Heinz told just-food today that early indications suggest that the Trian Group, led by activist investor Nelson Peltz, has failed in its attempt to get five nominees elected to the ketchup marker’s board. However, it seems that there is every possibility that at least one of Trian’s nominees was elected by shareholders at the company’s AGM yesterday (16 August).

A representative of Heinz told just-food today that early indications suggest that the Trian Group, led by activist investor Nelson Peltz, has failed in its attempt to get five nominees elected to the ketchup marker’s board. However, it seems that there is every possibility that at least one of Trian’s nominees was elected by shareholders at the company’s AGM yesterday (16 August).


“Preliminary results suggest that Trian’s attempt to get five seats on the board has been defeated,” Michael Mullen, head of Heinz global corporate relations told just-food this morning.


Billionaire investor Peltz and his Trian Group, Heinz’s second-largest shareholder, had put forward five candidates for election to the 12-member board.


Trian was dissatisfied with Heinz’ current management, accusing the board of failing to offer substantial returns to shareholders and suggested that it was not accountable for its actions, a charge that Heinz has vigorously denied.


Heinz countered these criticisms by suggesting Trian did not, and could not, represent the interests of all shareholders and adding that if its representatives were to be elected it would create and impasse between two separate factions on the board. 


“If any new directors are elected we will work constructively with them in the best interests of all shareholders,” Mullen conceded. 


It has been suggested that it could be a number of weeks before the official outcome of the proxy contest is known.

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