Corteva, Inc. (NYSE: CTVA) Thursday confirmed receipt of notice from Starboard Value of its intent to nominate individuals to stand for election to Corteva's Board of Directors (the "Board") at the Company's upcoming 2021 Annual Meeting of Stockholders. The Company issued the following statement:
Greg Page, Independent Chairman of Corteva, said, "Corteva's Board and management value the input of all our shareholders and we have met several times with Starboard. We understand their views, are in agreement on many points, and we look forward to continuing our dialogue. However, thus far, Starboard has not discussed with us specific operational recommendations for how to improve performance and the Board is unanimous in its view that Jim Collins' proven track record and industry expertise make him exactly the right leader to assure the Company delivers on its potential during this critical period."
"Leveraging our attractive assets and strong strategic positioning, Corteva has made significant progress in a short period of time as an independent company. We recognize that we have more work to do, and we intend to deliver on our commitments," Page continued. "Looking ahead, we believe we are at an important inflection point in our Company's trajectory as the extensive investments we have made to enhance productivity over the last 18+ months will begin to accelerate their impact on earnings. We believe we are just beginning to realize the value creation opportunity we have been targeting."
James C. ("Jim") Collins, Jr., Chief Executive Officer, said, "Corteva has delivered total shareholder returns of approximately 80%1 since the spinoff and we believe we are well-positioned to accelerate the realization of our value creation opportunity in 2021 and beyond. With an industry-leading pipeline and an unmatched global multi-channel, multi-brand distribution system, which allows us to give our customers what they need, when they need it, we are confident in our ability to continue to capitalize on our advantages to deliver above-market growth. At the same time, we are laser-focused on continuing to reduce costs and enhance productivity through both in-flight and new initiatives. Together with our top-line growth opportunities enabled by our new product portfolio, we are confident that these initiatives will drive meaningful margin expansion in the near-term and significant value for shareholders."
An overview of Corteva's strategy and performance highlights:
- Successfully Executing Strategic Plan: Corteva's strategic plan is focused on successfully delivering its pipeline of high value added, high margin differentiated products; providing multiple points of grower access through its multi-channel, multi-brand distribution; disciplined cost management through synergy realization and productivity improvement; and balanced capital allocation.
- Generating Strong Results: The plan is already yielding benefits for shareholders, and Corteva expects this momentum to continue. Corteva delivered 6%2 organic net sales growth in Seed and 7%2 in Crop Protection through the first nine months of 2020. Operating EBITDA is up 5%3 in the same period.
- Delivering on Superior Product Pipeline: Since closing the merger of Dow and DuPont, the Company has enhanced its product portfolio, launching 16 new products, including key seed technologies such as Qrome®, and PowerCore™ Ultra corn, and Enlist E3® soybeans4, as well as Rinskor™ and Arylex™ herbicides and Inatreq™ fungicide in Crop Protection; and has been successfully executing on the multi-channel, multi-brand approach through the launch of Brevant in Latin America and the U.S.
- Actions Taken to Generate Productivity and Optimize the Enterprise for Growth: Since 2017, the Company has reduced Seed production sites by 24%, Crop Protection manufacturing sites by 31%, R&D sites by 32%, commercial offices by 55%, and headcount by 16%. A portion of these savings have been reinvested to accelerate future growth, including investments in its route-to-market and multi-channel, multi-brand strategy; new product launches and ramp-up globally; capacity expansion of Spinosyns insecticide; and ERP harmonization investment to align disparate IT systems.
- Substantial and Ongoing Return of Capital to Shareholders: The Company's disciplined approach to capital allocation balances capital returns to shareholders in the form of dividends and share repurchases, targeted investments in internal and external innovation to support profitable growth, and balance sheet strength to ensure efficient access to capital throughout the business cycle. Corteva has returned approximately $882 million to investors since becoming a public company in June 2019 through December 2020 and recently announced that it expects to complete the Company's existing $1 billion share repurchase program by the end of 2021, subject to market conditions, six months ahead of the Company's original expected timeline.