ISS Supports Shareholder Ron Gutstein's Board Nomination Again in 2013
NEW YORK--(BUSINESS WIRE)-- Keweenaw Land Association, Limited ("KEWL") shareholder Ronald S. Gutstein announced today that ISS Proxy Advisory Services ("ISS"), the leading independent proxy advisory firm, has once again recommended that shareholders support his nomination to the Board of Directors.
In seeking a seat on the company's board, Mr. Gutstein has long argued that the company stock has dramatically underperformed its peer group, and would benefit from registration and listing on a national exchange. After speaking with Mr. Gutstein, ISS agreed, concluding that, "... the company's stock price is not reflective of the intrinsic value of the underlying assets. Given that the company's split adjusted price has not increased and in fact has decreased since 2003 and acreage under management has not materially changed, there is no reason to believe the value gap has closed. In fact, in all likelihood the opposite is true." Furthermore, ISS pointed out "...that companies that have registered and listing on the NASDAQ, have materially increased their average daily trading volume and trade at higher stock prices than pink sheet listed stocks like the company that trade by appointment."
After analyzing KEWL's operating results, ISS's conclusions support the need for an outside review. "Keweenaw significantly underperformed its closest peer POPE, the peer group median, and the S&P 1500 index ("SPX") over the last five years. Keweenaw's total shareholder returns were 165.8 percentage points less than POPE and 237.3 percentage points less than the peer median."
In summary, ISS writes, "Based on substantial and sustained underperformance as well as the governance issues noted, we believe the dissident has made a compelling case for change on the board. We reiterate the point made in the 2011 proxy contest: Gutstein's background and experience in the capital markets, especially as they pertain to the marketing of small, thinly traded securities, may help the company achieve increased visibility in the investment community that ultimately may further narrow the value gap. Additionally, Gutstein has pledged to work to improve the company's corporate governance bylaws pertaining to supermajority vote requirements and other policies that serve as entrenchment devices and are not in shareholders' best interests. We therefore recommend shareholders vote on the dissident's WHITE proxy card for dissident nominee."
This is the third time that ISS has endorsed Mr. Gutstein's slate. "Clearly management is either unwilling or unable to address the concerns raised by an internationally respected third party," Gutstein said. "The current board has chosen to ignore the facts and has failed to manage the company for the benefit of all shareholders. It is time for an outside voice to join the board and work to close the value gap and improve corporate governance."
KEWL shareholders are urged to vote the WHITE proxy card. Shareholder questions or information requests should be directed to Alliance Advisors, LLC toll free at: (877) 777-5613.
ISS is widely recognized as the leading independent proxy advisory firm and its recommendations are relied upon by major institutional investment firms, mutual funds and other fiduciaries throughout the country.
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