October 25, 2018 / 10:49 AM / a year ago

Panalpina defends board after activist investor demands chairman leave

ZURICH (Reuters) - Panalpina PWTN.S defended its board of directors and its strategy after it came under attack by an activist investor who demanded the Swiss logistics company fire its chairman and consider mergers to help resurrect a deflated share price.

A founder of Cevian Capital, whose 12.3 percent stake in Panalpina makes it the company’s second-biggest investor, told Swiss magazine Bilanz he had run out of patience with Peter Ulber, who has been chairman at the air and sea freight company since 2016 after a three-year spell as chief executive.

Panalpina, whose shares have dropped about a quarter this year, rejected the salvo from Cevian’s Lars Forberg, with a spokesman saying that the company had a “robust strategy” and would participate in consolidation of the fragmented sector.

“Panalpina has developed in a direction that allows for both organic and external growth,” the spokesman said. “The board of Panalpina has the necessary checks and balances to make decisions independently and competently.”

Reporting by John Miller, editing by John Revill

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