Visteon shareholders elected nominees who support a plan to give the company a makeover

Article by Christian A., on June 17, 2012

Visteon Corp. shareholders have elected nominees who support a plan to give the company a makeover. The struggling supplier has been shopping two of its four units. A proxy statement revealed that shareholders have voted to re-elect directors Duncan Cocroft, Kevin Dowd, Jeffrey D. Jones, Tim Leuliette, CEO Don Stebbins and Harry J. Wilson as well as to add Robert Manzo, a consultant to troubled companies nominated by a "significant shareholder."

Last April, Visteon said that four directors won’t be up for re-election as it gives control to directors that want a revamp. Spokesman Jim Fisker has confirmed these voting results. Visteon, which left bankruptcy in 2010, started to simplify its corporate structure in November when it inked a nonbinding agreement to sell majority of its interiors unit to Yanfeng Visteon, the Chinese joint venture with SAIC Motor Corp.

It was releasing lower-margin revenue in interiors and lighting to concentrate on faster-growing operations in Asia. Visteon said that Stebbins hired Goldman Sachs Group Inc. and Rothschild to give their advice in order to get a strategic review, the company said Oct. 17. Last October, insiders said that independent board members like Wilson and Leuliette compelled Stebbins to interview banks to help streamline the supplier. Visteon reported a loss of $29 million in the first quarter.

It had a second consecutive quarterly deficit after four straight profitable quarters. Ever since Visteon was spun off by Ford Motor Co., it was hit by losses since 2000. The supplier has increased the business with automakers aside from Ford.

Right before the shareholders meeting, analyst Matthew Stover, from Guggenheim Securities LLC, was interviewed. He said that Visteon isn’t likely to be mentioned when there’s talk about focused growth stories. Visteon shares’ fell by 22 percent this year through yesterday after falling 33 percent in 2011. Visteon has agreed to sell its lighting unit to Varroc Group of India in March for $92 million.

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