Brazil miner Vale seals share conversion, elects new board members

Brazil miner Vale seals share conversion, elects new board members

Ricardo Moraes

The move was approved by the remaining preferential shareholders in a special meeting for their class of stock on Wednesday afternoon.

According to the company's press office, Vale CEO Fabio Schvartsman said the conversion would guarantee top governance practices and attract new investors.

The conversion is part of a corporate reorganization designed to give the company dispersed share ownership, where no shareholder controls decision-making at the firm. It also includes measures aimed at limiting the opportunity for government meddling.

Vale finalized the first phase of its plan to become a company with a single stock class on Aug. 14, when shareholders owning 84.4 percent of preferred shares joined the plan, topping a minimum 54.09 percent threshold.

"Structural governance improvements at Vale will continue raising investor interest in the name, and could reduce the valuation gap to RIO/BHP over time," BTG Pactual said in a client note. However, the investment bank said it still had a neutral rating on Vale, due to its view of iron ore prices.

Earlier on Wednesday, at an extraordinary shareholders' meeting, the company's shareholders gave the green light to the proposal to convert all of the class A preferred shares issued by the company into common shares.

Merging Vale's different classes of stock into a single, common one may attract new Asian investors and specialized mining and metal investment firms, Chief Financial Officer Luciano Siani told Reuters in August.

On Wednesday, shareholders also elected Sandra Guerra and Isabella Saboya as new independent board members, according to the company's press office.

Guerra and Saboya, two of four competing candidates for the board, were nominated by Aberdeen Asset Management, acting on behalf of investment funds it manages for clients that are Vale shareholders.

Guerra is co-founder of the Brazilian Institute of Corporate Governance, and Saboya has been a sell-side analyst and asset manager executive and has also worked for the Brazilian securities industry watchdog.

(Reporting by Marta Nogueira; Additional reporting by Tatiana Bautzer in Sao Paulo; Writing by Alexandra Alper and Tatiana Bautzer; Editing by Steve Orlofsky and Jamse Dalgleish)