Recommended TransAlta directors elected by shareholders despite activist complaints

A woman walks towards the entrance of the TransAlta headquarters building in Calgary, on Tuesday, April 29, 2014. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Larry MacDougal

Power utility TransAlta Corp. shareholders shrugged off the interventions of a U.S. activist investor and elected the company’s preferred slate of directors at its annual meeting.

All 12 recommended directors were endorsed by shareholders, including Harry Goldgut and Richard Legault, nominees put forward by Brookfield Renewable Partners whose election was a condition of its $750-million partnership deal with TransAlta.

READ MORE: TransAlta vows to defend against ‘frivolous’ lawsuit as meeting date looms

New York-based Mangrove Partners launched a lawsuit in Ontario earlier this week to try to derail the deal, after it filed and then withdrew a request for the Alberta Securities Commission to delay the annual meeting and require a separate vote on the partnership.

Mangrove claims the deal was rushed, failed to properly consider other options and puts the interests of the board ahead of the interests of the shareholders.

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READ MORE: American activist investors seek regulatory order delaying TransAlta annual meeting

TransAlta CEO Dawn Farrell has defended the Brookfield deal as good for shareholders and insisted the company thoroughly investigated other options before signing.

Mangrove and an entity controlled by Bluescape Energy Partners had agreed to join forces to employ their combined 10.1 per cent ownership of TransAlta to force change but then ended the partnership. Mangrove says it owns about 7.1 per cent.

READ MORE: CEO defends TransAlta investment deal with Brookfield after U.S. investors seek option to cancel

TransAlta has said it plans to spend $350 million of the Brookfield investment to speed its coal-to-gas power generation transition strategy in Alberta and will use up to $250 million to buy back shares over three years.

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