Activist investor Carl Icahn is nothing if he is not persistent. He is now calling on Navistar International Corp. (NYSE: NAV) to make four board seats available to shareholders immediately. Icahn, who owns almost 15% of Navistar, said in a letter to the board:
[The] choice of Lewis Campbell as Chairman and Interim Chief Executive Officer was worse than ill-advised, since you made no attempt to discuss the decision with us, or presumably any of the other substantial holders — the true owners of this company.
He also said that Navistar “has become a poster child for abysmal business decisions and poor corporate governance,” and that “Navistar is a company with a board asleep at the switch.”
Last week, the maker of trucks, buses and recreational vehicles posted third-quarter per-share earnings and revenue that were both lower year-over-year and short of analysts estimates. “Clearly we are not pleased with these results,” said the new CEO. The company plans to continue to reduce its workforce as part of an effort to eliminate up to $175 million in costs beginning in fiscal 2013.
Icahn noted that Navistar’s share price and market capitalization have dwindled over the past two-and-a-half years, while the company “has been unable to deliver an engine that conforms to EPA 2010 guidelines.” And he is unhappy with the company’s choice of interim CEO, saying Campbell has “zero experience in the heavy truck industry and a questionable track record as CEO of Textron.”
And Icahn also indicates that he will seek access under the law to Navistar’s corporate documents and board proceedings.
Navistar is inactive in premarket trading, but closed Friday at $24.76 in a 52-week range of $19.79 to $48.18. The share price has fallen almost 14% in the past 90 days.