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Ferro reschedules annual meeting for May 22

By: Frank Esposito

May 15, 2013

MAYFIELD HEIGHTS, OHIO — Specialty chemicals and plastics maker Ferro Corp. has delayed its annual meeting from May 15 to May 22 to allow shareholders more time to consider a revised slate of candidates for the firm’s board of directors.

Earlier this month, officials with Mayfield Heights, Ohio-based Ferro and with a group of dissident shareholders agreed to a slate consisting of current Ferro board member Ronald Vargo and shareholder candidates Jeffry Quinn and David Lorber.

Quinn and Lorber were nominated by a shareholders’ group that includes FrontFour Capital Group of Stamford, Conn., and Quinpario Partners LLC of St. Louis. The group has criticized Ferro management for the firm’s recent poor financial performance. Ferro lost almost $400 million in 2012, leading to the late-year resignation of CEO James Kirsch.

Quinn formerly was president, chairman and CEO of specialty chemicals and plastics maker Solutia Inc. of St. Louis. He’s now one of four general partners in Quinpario.

Ferro also continues to resist a takeover offer from compounder and concentrate maker A. Schulman Inc. of Fairlawn, Ohio. Schulman on March 4 made a $6.50 per-share bid for Ferro that valued the firm at about $850 million. Ferro’s board later described the offer as “a low-ball acquisition proposal.”

On March 1 — the last business day before the Schulman offer — Ferro’s per-share stock price was at $5.20. Schulman’s interest has helped push the stock upward. It was at $7.10 per share in late trading May 14.

Ferro posted a profit of about $900,000 in the first quarter of 2013 - down about 75 percent from the same quarter in 2012. The firm’s first-quarter sales fell 10 percent to $417 million in the same comparison. Ferro derives about 30 percent of its sales from plastics-related businesses, including polypropylene compounding.

The re-scheduled annual meeting will be held at Ferro’s Posnick Center of Innovative Technology in Independence, Ohio.