TODAY'S PAPER
Good Afternoon
Good Afternoon
Business

Hain board favors re-election of Icahn allies

The brown bear appearing on boxes of Celestial

The brown bear appearing on boxes of Celestial Seasonings Sleepytime tea; a brand of The Hain Celestial Group, in Melville. Credit: Handout

Two Hain Celestial board members allied with activist investor Carl Icahn are expected to return for another year, according to a shareholder voting form filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

The Oct. 11 proxy form lists  the billionaire investor's son, Brett Icahn, and his business associate, David Schechter, both of Icahn Capital LP, as among those board members recommended for re-election at the Nov. 17 meeting, to be held at  Hain corporate offices in Melville.

All members of the 10-person board are recommended for re-election. They include the chief executive, Irwin D. Simon, who is also board chairman.

The natural foods maker's stock Tuesday morning was down $1.06 to $32.50, compared to $24.07 a year ago. Icahn at last count owned more than 16 percent of Hain shares, which he began buying early last year.

With about 2,000 workers, Hain showed a $54.9 million profit on $1.13 billion in sales in the past year. Its brands include Celestial Seasonings, WestSoy, Alba Botanica and Arrowhead Mills.

SEC documents filed by Hain in recent months give further details on an accord Simon made with Carl Icahn, disclosing that Icahn is permitted to buy up to 20 percent of the company. The documents also said Hain has a mechanism to prevent an unwanted takeover -- the power to issue preferred voting shares that would trump common shares.

"Pursuant to our agreement with the Icahn Group, we have approved the Icahn Group becoming the beneficial owner of 15 percent, but not more than 20 percent, of our common stock," Hain says in its Aug. 31 annual report. At that time Icahn owned 7.1 million of Hain's total 43.4 million shares.

Hain also disclosed, in its annual report, that the lease on its Melville headquarters expires in 2012, and that it owns a 158,000 square foot plant in Boulder, Colo.; a 136,000 square foot plant in Hereford, Tex.; and other sizeable plants in West Chester and Moonache, N.J.

More news