Dissidents Offer No New Plan or Ideas, Says ATS
CAMBRIDGE, ON, Sept. 6 /CNW/ - ATS Automation Tooling Systems Inc., responding today to a Dissidents' Circular filed by two hedge funds -- Goodwood Inc. and Mason Capital Management, LLC -- said the dissidents have not proposed any plans other than those already being expeditiously executed by ATS management with the approval of the current Board of Directors.
"Goodwood and Mason have failed to put forward any new or substantive ideas for enhancing ATS's value beyond those ATS is already implementing," said Larry Tapp, Chairman of the Board of ATS. "We believe a wholesale change of the Board at this time is unwarranted, unnecessary and runs counter to the best interests of ATS shareholders. It is a needless distraction that will only disrupt and delay our ongoing - and increasingly successful - progress in building shareholder value."
"The bottom line is that our plan is working," said ATS President and CEO Ron Jutras. "We are building positive momentum operationally, strategically and financially, as we move to extend our gains in our core automation business under a new management team, complete the spin-out of Photowatt and conclude the sale of PCG. We are moving as quickly as possible on the execution of our plan. Investors should not permit these two hedge funds to seize control of the Board in exchange for nothing more than empty promises that they could move more quickly."
Mr. Jutras added, "The dissidents' circular is self-serving and incomplete in key respects. We expect to have further comment on it shortly, along with a further discussion of ATS's progress against the strategic plan laid out in June."
The Board of Directors urges shareholders to stop the ill-conceived hedge fund initiative and support ATS's value creation plan by discarding any dissident proxies and voting FOR the reelection of ATS's current directors at the company's Annual General Meeting, which will take place, as scheduled, on Thursday, September 13, 2007. Proxies must be returned no later than September 11, 2007 at 10:00 am Toronto time for votes 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 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.
Forward Looking Statement
This news release contains certain statements that constitute forward-looking information within the meaning of applicable securities laws ("forward-looking statements"). Such forward-looking statements involve known and unknown risks, uncertainties and other factors that may cause the actual results, performance or achievements of ATS, or developments in ATS's business or in its industry, to differ materially from the anticipated results, performance, achievements or developments expressed or implied by such forward-looking statements. Forward-looking statements include all disclosure regarding possible events, conditions or results of operations that is based on assumptions about future economic conditions and courses of action. Forward-looking statements may also include, without limitation, any statement relating to future events, conditions or circumstances. ATS cautions you not to place undue reliance upon any such forward-looking statements, which speak only as of the date they are made. Forward-looking statements relate to, among other things: execution of ATS's value creation plan and extending its gains in its core automation business, completing the spin-out of Photowatt and concluding the sale of PCG. The risks and uncertainties that may affect forward-looking statements include, among others: general market performance and restructuring within the North American automotive market; the receipt of all necessary approvals and advance tax ruling relating to the Spin Out; the state of the capital markets; foreign currency and exchange risk; strength of the Canadian dollar; performance of the market sectors that ATS serves; that some or all of the trends towards automation that ATS believes are attractive dissipate or do not result in increased demand for automation; risks associated with operating and servicing customers in a foreign country; that multinational companies withdraw from global manufacturing for business, political, economic or other reasons; unforeseen problems with the implementation of the ASG strategic initiatives or failure of those measures to bring about improved performance at ASG; the success of ongoing operational improvements at ASG; problems associated with the expansion of production capability and adoption of new production processes at Photowatt; managing the impact of supply shortages and higher prices for polysilicon; Photowatt's ability to improve efficiencies of its solar modules produced using lower grade polysilicon or refined metallurgical silicon; Photowatt's ability to secure additional long-term polysilicon supply contracts; the reduction in government incentives in Germany and its effect on Photowatt; inability to advance collaborative development arrangements focused on increasing power efficiencies of solar cells; political, labour or supplier disruptions in manufacturing and supply of silicon; the ability of ATS to exit the remaining PCG operations; and other risks detailed from time to time in ATS's filings with Canadian provincial securities regulators. Forward-looking statements are based on management's current plans, estimates, projections, beliefs and opinions, and ATS does not undertake any obligation to update forward-looking statements should assumptions related to these plans, estimates, projections, beliefs and opinions change.
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