AGT privatization jumps final hurdle

The privatization of AGT Food and Ingredients has received final approval now that Ontario Superior Court has ruled in its favour.

The Feb. 11 ruling comes after AGT shareholders voted at a special shareholders meeting Feb. 5 in favour of privatization, according to a company news release.

Shareholders voted 72.5 percent in favour of the privatization with 27.5 percent against, stated the news release.

AGT now expects to be delisted from the TSX sometime during the first quarter or early in the second quarter.

The buyer group has been led by AGT president Murad Al-Katib and includes other top AGT executives, plus Fairfax Financial Holdings Ltd. and Point North Capital Inc. As part of the group’s privatization plan, they will acquire all outstanding shares for $18 per share.

The group initially announced its intentions to take AGT private in July 2018. Company shares that day leapt from $13.17 per share to $17.76 per share, but by early December the price slipped to $15.84 per share. The price has since fluctuated.

However, the recent price is a far cry from the $42.05 per share AGT traded at in May 2016. The company’s share values were hurt by India increasing its import duties on pulses. India had been Canada’s largest pulse customer.

Shareholders opposed to AGT’s privatization, led by the management firm Letko, Brosseau and Associates, have argued the company has been undervalued.

Al-Katib started AGT as SaskCan Pulse Trading in 2003. By 2009, it had evolved into Alliance Grain Traders Inc. when the Alliance Grain Traders Income Fund became a publicly traded corporation. Alliance then morphed into AGT Food and Ingredients in 2014.

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