ATS Responds to Goodwood/Mason announcement
CAMBRIDGE, ON, Sept. 4 /CNW/ - ATS Automation Tooling Systems Inc. responded to the announcement made earlier today by two hedge funds, Goodwood Inc. and Mason Capital Management LLC, stating their intention to propose and vote for an alternate slate of directors at ATS's upcoming Annual General Meeting.
Ron Jutras, ATS President and Chief Executive Officer said, "We regret that Goodwood and Mason Capital have chosen this course of action. We have engaged both firms in regular discussions over the past several months regarding the Company's strategic direction, and they have not only expressed support for the plan we are now executing but have received $2.3 million in fees for backstopping our recent rights offering. We share their desire to move forward as rapidly as possible, but we fail to see how a disruptive proxy contest will help us achieve that goal. Accordingly, we urge shareholders to vote for the slate of directors included in the Management Information Circular and to support the company as we work to create and deliver value to our shareholders."
In June, ATS announced a three part strategic plan to make ATS a highly focused pure automation systems company. This plan includes developing its world-leading Automation Systems Group (ASG) operations, its core business; strengthening Photowatt's financial capacity and silicon supplies through a $110 million rights offering; and, pursuing strategic alternatives for its Precision Components Group (PCG), including a divestiture.
Since then, the Company has completed the rights offering; retained Scotia Capital Inc. to assist in identifying and evaluating alternatives for its PCG operations; announced plans to distribute Photowatt shares to ATS shareholders; recorded an increase in new automation systems bookings and order backlog for the first quarter of 2007 as well as improved operating results at ASG Cambridge and Ohio; strengthened its management team with a number of key hires; and earlier today, announced that it has secured a fourth long-term silicon supply contract for Photowatt.
ATS recommends that all shareholders vote their management proxy in favour of the slate of directors as listed in the Management Information Circular. Proxies must be returned no later than September 11, 2007 at 10:00am Toronto time for your vote to count. A copy of ATS's current Annual Report and Management Information Circular for the September 13, 2007 meeting can be found on SEDAR at www.sedar.com, and at ATS's website at www.atsautomation.com. Requests for a hard copy of the Annual Report or Management Information Circular can also be made to Georgeson. For more information call Georgeson, ATS's proxy solicitor toll free at 1-888-605-7636.
ATS will comment on further information provided by Goodwood and Mason once it has been released.
ATS Automation Tooling Systems Inc. provides innovative, custom designed, built and installed manufacturing solutions to many of the world's most successful companies. Founded in 1978, ATS uses its industry-leading knowledge and global capabilities to serve the sophisticated automation systems' needs of multinational customers in industries such as healthcare, computer/electronics, automotive and consumer products. It also leverages its many years of repetitive manufacturing experience and skills to fulfill the specialized repetitive equipment manufacturing requirements of customers. Through its Photowatt solar business, ATS participates in the growing solar energy industry and through its precision components business it produces, in high volume, precision components and subassemblies. ATS employs approximately 3,500 people at 24 manufacturing facilities in Canada, the United States, Europe, southeast Asia and China. The Company's shares are traded on the Toronto Stock Exchange under the symbol ATA. Visit the Company's website at www.atsautomation.com.
For further information:
Carl Galloway, Vice President and Treasurer
Gerry Beard, Vice President and Chief Financial Officer
Josh Pekarsky, Longview Communications
Alan Bayless, Longview Communications